Four low-barrier shelters to open this winter - Metro US

Four low-barrier shelters to open this winter

Vancouver will open four additional low-barrier homeless shelters in the city this winter.

Council also plans to implement a number of measures to curtail behaviour — like public defecation, drug use and sex — that marred a pair of shelters under the Granville Bridge, forcing their closure this spring.

Among the measures will be the ability for neighbours to contact the shelter about issues 24 hours a day and a reservation system so that homeless people don’t have to line up in the cold.

“We’re being responsive to communities,” said Coun. Kerry Jang.

On Tuesday, the city approved $500,000 for what the city is calling Winter Response 2010. It will be used along with $1.2 million in provincial funding to open the four 40-person shelters that will operate until April 30.

The facilities, which provide storage areas and have strict no alcohol or drug policies, will likely be located in Grandview-Woodlands, Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant and in the Downtown.

For the Downtown site, Housing Minister Rich Coleman has said that either of the two shelters under the Granville Street Bridge could be reopened.

The city, Jang added, is also looking at creating “warming centres” at churches or neighbourhood houses as a place for homeless people to go during the day.

Council also approved $500,000 on Tuesday for improvements to the Bosman Motor Hotel, which will be used in a Mental Health Commission of Canada study that will provide housing and mental health treatment for 100 street homeless.

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