NEWS
11/12/2015 11:44 EST | Updated 11/12/2016 00:12 EST

B.C. Shelters shore up against the coming cold front

B.C.'s emergency shelters are opening up extra beds to help shelter the most vulnerable from the approaching storm.

The province recently announced $1.6 million to fund 1,200 temporary extreme weather shelter spaces this winter across B.C.

"These spaces supplement permanent, year-round services and provide an extra layer of support to make sure that everyone has a warm, safe place to stay," said Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for housing, announced earlier this week.

In Metro Vancouver that means 560 extra spaces during extreme weather. The money flows when communities issue extreme weather alerts, like this week's.

Calum Scott of Directions Youth Service Centre is getting ready to activate the shelter's Extreme Weather Response program. 

"We've got really high quality mattresses," said Scott, who has called in extra staff and working hard to prepare extra food and beds.

Even before the rain comes, "We are usually filled to capacity," he said.

Metro Vancouver already has 1,000 permanent shelter beds, but the extra extreme weather funding offers much needed relief, said Rebecca Bell of the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy.

"We are in a place with a very tight food budget. We're able to use some of that money to help provide people with a nice breakfast when they're done."

Bell said they first opened up extra beds for the homeless Remembrance Day evening in Surrey, B.C., where wind and rain often hits hardest first.

"The weather can be different across Metro Vancouver. We often find weather comes in through Surrey," then the rest of the Lower Mainland follows suit.