Surrey is opening up almost all of its available cold weather shelter beds, as an icy front continues to plunge the Lower Mainland into a deep freeze.
For the past several weeks, the region has been opening its extreme weather beds – mostly mats set aside for homeless facing freezing, or particularly inclement, weather.
Peter Fedos at Hyland House is directing services in the Surrey area, and said Wednesday he’s planning to open 95 available beds by this weekend as colder weather heads this way. Temperatures have dipped below zero on recent nights, and the cold snap isn’t expected to lift for several more days.
On Tuesday night there were 70 beds available to the homeless, but it just wasn’t enough.
“It’s been cold for a long stretch here, we’re looking at two weeks,” Fedos said. “Last night I heard we were full, so I’m opening up some more space.”
Despite the large number of people showing up at the shelters, Fedos still believes there are more out there.
“The ones that know how to hunker down and they’re prepared and have done it, we’re probably never going to see them,” Fedos said. “But it’s cold, it’s miserable, the longer it goes, the more that we’ll see.”
There are 15 additional beds available in Surrey, and more can be found with a bit of ingenuity, Fedos said.
He anticipates staying open until at least Dec. 15.
People looking to help can donate items such as socks, underwear, gloves, toques, coats and hot packs for shoes or gloves.
The shelters can be found at:
• Cloverdale Christian Fellowship, #102-17802 66 Ave.
• KEYS Housing and Health Solutions, 10697 135A St.
• Surrey Urban Mission Society, 10776 King George Blvd.
• First United Church (White Rock), 15385 Semiahmoo Ave.