Langley homeless shelter running over capacity
Langley’s homeless shelter has been running above capacity every night since an extended cold snap took hold of Langley this winter.
Cameron Eggie, residential services manager at Gateway of Hope said this has been a particularly taxing winter, with brutally cold temperatures and lots of snow making it hard for anyone to sleep outside.
"This latest stretch, we opened (the emergency weather beds) on Dec. 31, and it looks like we will go straight through until the weekend, when warmer weather is expected," said Eggie.
"The cold weather has prompted us to open the extra mats program 36 times already this season. Last season we only had to open 26 times during the whole winter period, from Nov. 1 to March 31."
But the shelter is not turning anyone away. They will find room, said Eggie.
This year, Gateway also took on more shelter guests with provincial funding for a Temporary Relief Shelter (open nightly) which was created to accommodate people once living in the tent city on the Nicomekl Floodplain in Langley City, off 207 Street.
The temporary relief shelter, regular shelter and extreme weather guests are allowed to stay inside from 7 p.m. until 10 a.m., during the coldest parts of the day and night, said Eggie.
Currently, more than 80 people are staying at the Gateway of Hope each night, and temperatures are expected to dip as low as -10 Celsius on Thursday.