Vancouver police handed out fleece blankets to homeless people in Pigeon Park yesterday as part of a joint initiative with the Salvation Army ahead of winter.

Const. Jodyne Keller, homeless co-ordinator for the VPD, said the campaign is about more than just blankets — it’s about building trust and support.

“Homeless people feel that they just kind of fade into the background,” she said. “(Officers) are able to connect with the people out on the street ... (and) let them know where they can seek shelter. No one should ever have to sleep outside in the cold.”

Alex Burnip, who lives in the neighbourhood, said it’s “wonderful” that police are handing out blankets, but it could be done more often.

“The people living outside will only use them for one night ... and then they will be dirty,” Burnip said. “We need more (programs) like this.”

Kristen thompson/with files from j.j. mccullough