As the winter begins to settle in, the Upper Room Mission is stepping up to make a difference in the lives of those facing the harsh realities of homelessness.
Recognizing the increased vulnerability of the homeless population during colder months, the Upper Room Mission has expanded its services to ensure that more people in our community have access to shelter, warmth, and sustenance.
Winter can be an especially challenging time for those without a place to call home. The biting cold, harsh weather conditions, and the lack of shelter can create life-threatening situations for individuals experiencing homelessness. Recognizing this urgent need, the Upper Room Mission has taken a proactive stance to address the challenges that winter brings.
The Winter Shelter Mat Program was made possible through the generous support of local donors, Foord Family Foundation, and BC Housing. The Temporary Winter Shelter Program will be running from November 8 to March 31, 2023.
Key Features of the Winter Shelter Program:
- Everyone that needs shelter is welcome
- Registration for staying at the Shelter is from 9 am to 4 pm every day
- Starting Dec 1st we will have 15 beds, currently 10 beds and waitlist available
- The shelter will operate from 10 pm to 7 am during the winter season
- The shelter guests will receive a meal and snack in the evening when entering the shelter and a simple breakfast before regular services commence
- As the Upper Room Mission is a dry facility, no substance use is allowed inside our building – our goal at The Mission is to offer community members an alternative safe space with reduced exposure to narcotics
- Our guests receive access to our Social Worker to receive support with the challenges they face in exiting homelessness and/or addiction
- We collaborate with the existing Turning Points Shelter and other community partners to ensure people are getting connected to the resources they need.
The Upper Room Mission believes that every individual deserves love, dignity and warmth, especially during the winter months when times are even more challenging. Homelessness has increased in our community. During the latest homelessness count 279 people were identified as experiencing homelessness, compared to 224 people in 2021. It is worth noting, these numbers do not completely capture the entire transient population as numbers reported are on a voluntary basis – the estimated number is nearly double that.
“Based on last year’s experience with people suffering during the winter months, we wanted to support our community with an additional safe and warm shelter during the winter months,” said Jacco de Vin, Executive Director of the Upper Room Mission. “With 15 available beds each night, we will not be able to help everyone still outside, but we hope we can continue making a difference in the lives of those who do stay with us.”
How You Can Help:
The success of the Winter Shelter Program relies on the continued support of the program. Whether through monetary donations, volunteering time, or spreading awareness, everyone can play a role in making a difference. By actively participating in and supporting the Upper Room Mission’s initiative, individuals can contribute to creating a community that cares for its most vulnerable members.
Every comment is a step towards building a more connected and compassionate community. So, take a moment to share your thoughts, and let’s create a space where everyone’s voice is heard and valued. Together, we can make a difference.