The official first day of winter may not be for a few more weeks, but as far as shelters in the city are concerned, it’s already here.

“This is the beginning of it,” said Shepherds of Good Hope spokesman Rob Eady.

The past several nights have seen some of the coldest temperatures this season, and the Shepherds of Good Hope “is a bit on the overflow,” Eady said.

“Our numbers have gone up,” he said yesterday. “There were a few more people sleeping in the shelter last night and ... We’re seeing more faces in our soup kitchen.”

Eady estimates a 10 per cent increase, with more young people and women than usual.

Over at the Ottawa Mission, “we have more guys staying inside because of the weather,” said
senior program manager Simon Brazier. “And staff are ... encouraging people to come inside.

“When the cold weather hits, we make sure that if there are no beds, we put them on the ground or secure a bed for them somewhere in the city,” Brazier added.

Staff at Shepherds are prepared for the influx that the cold brings, Eady said.

“We’ll be making sure the clients will be dressed in layers, drinking lots of liquids, and making sure they have something on their heads.”

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