The Burnaby warming centres are open again. But we need more done

The warming centres have returned for a second year in Burnaby, with the opening taking place on Friday.

The City of Burnaby had announced it was opening three warming centres on Dec. 1, but moved that date up to Nov. 15 as the process of getting staff into place has gone quicker than expected.

It makes me happy to see our city once again working to help the homeless during this terrible time of year. It's also good that a new supportive housing project has opened on Norland Avenue. That gets more and more people off the streets as they are connected with services to help them gain permanent housing.

What we need now goes beyond warming centres. We need more supportive housing and a free-standing homeless shelter that runs all year round.

Thankfully, Mayor Mike Hurley is committed to getting all of this done. It's a huge step forward.

“Equipped with sleeping mats, hot beverages and snacks, and space for pets, the warming centres provide much-needed support for Burnaby’s most vulnerable citizens,” says a statement from the city.

Three centres will be open from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m., every night between Nov. 15, 2019 and March 31, 2020 at the following locations:

  • Beresford (5970 Beresford St.)
  • Swangard Stadium (Kingsway and Boundary Road)
  • Kensington (5889 Curtis St.)

“Each location will be staffed with knowledgeable support workers who connect patrons to agencies that can help access housing and other services,” said the city. “In addition to providing important connections within the community, warming centre staff work hard to ensure the spaces are welcoming and safe for all patrons. Their dedication to workplace safety was recently recognized with a Safety and Health Team award from the BC Municipal Safety Association.”

 

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