Jan 2010 6

Vancouver Homeless Get Extra Shelter

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Vancouver's homeless are getting more help with the opening of the second of four temporary shelters in the run-up to next month's Winter Olympics.

The 40-bed shelter has been re-opened after complaints of drug abuse and violence last summer, with plans to add an additional 160 beds.

The move is part of Vancouver's "Winter Response Plan" that will see the four "Homeless Emergency Action Team" shelters, supplementing three existing HEAT shelters that have been open since December 2008.

The additional beds, which will raise the total number available to 1,250 when all seven shelters are operational, will be opened through a 500,000 Canadian dollar contribution from the city and 1.2 million dollars from the province of British Columbia.

While the shelters will only remain open through April, Mayor Gregor Robertson told the media that "we have a national homeless crisis".

Even with the addition, the number is still short of the beds required. According to the city, in the last official count taken in March 2008, at least 1,600 people slept outside or stayed in shelters on any given night.

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