The Samaritan House’s Safe & Warm Shelter will have longer hours into the morning and be able to accommodate more overnight sleeps this coming winter after Brandon City Council unanimously approved giving Samaritan House $69,000 toward an expansion project on Wednesday. Samaritan House has also raised and set aside $20,000 itself for the project.

The shelter last winter provided 1600 bed nights. Its capability to meet community need had become a worry with overnight freezing temperatures appearing well into the month of March and the shelter only capable of staying open to March 31. According to weather data Brandon’s overnight low reached -15 as late as March 25 this past year with nights in early April falling to as far as -7 and -6. Future expansion hopes would allow an opening earlier than the current November 1 and a seasonal closure later than March 31.

The City of Winnipeg is cancelling its plans to dismantle homeless camps amid pressure from several advocates.

In May, the city released a request for proposals on its website, looking for a contractor to help discard “bulky waste” that makes up “temporary homeless shelters,” collect and dispose of biohazardous items from parks and other public areas, and collect used needles.

The city had said the request for proposals was in response to an increase in calls to 311 about needles and sharps.

A spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the city has withdrawn the request following a meeting with several groups who work with vulnerable people.

They had expressed concerns that the plan was short-sighted and could be harmful to people who are already displaced and facing multiple challenges.

[C]onsidering the increasing number of tents being set up at Centennial Gardens park and other areas in the city, Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre executive director Emily Kovacs said St. Catharines and Niagara as a whole may need a different kind of emergency accommodation.

“I think what we need is something called a respite model,” said Kovacs, who spent 19 years working in Toronto’s homelessness services department prior to moving to Niagara.

“It’s not a shelter. It’s not supportive housing. It’s a low-barrier model,” she said. “In order for you to support individuals who are using opioids or they’re having active psychosis, they have a place that is safe, that is supportive and the least minimal rules so they (people in need) are not at risk of being sent out on the streets.”

Niagara, she said, does not have such a facility.

… according to Pivot Legal Society, hostile design does more than just shoo homeless people away, it engenders a city-wide atmosphere of exclusion, driving Vancouver’s most vulnerable off the street into the city’s parks.

Not only does defensive design reinforce negative stigma, but it pushes homeless individuals to set up “informal tent city structures,” where people feel a greater sense of security and community, says Meenakshi Mannoe, a community educator.

According to data released June 12, approximately 2,223 homeless people were living in Vancouver this past March, including 614 without a shelter.

The small blue tent pitched in the shade of a willow tree at Centennial Gardens has been Danny Claybourn’s home for the past month.

Claybourn spent the winter months staying indoors through the Out of the Cold program.

Prior to that, the Montreal-born man said he had lived in the U.S. for decades, before being deported back to Canada.

Now, after months of living on city streets he’s desperate to find an apartment he can afford with the $1,200 a month he receives from ODSP, “or at least a room where I can be safe.”

Inn from the Cold, a Kelowna-based not-for-profit society that offered emergency shelter, case management and in-home support since 1999, is closing its office.

“It is with much regret that we feel we have no choice at this time but to close the society’s office,” said Kim Froom, the treasurer, in a press release.

In January the Inn closed the doors on the emergency shelter it operated, having lost its lease because the property had been sold for redevelopment. The search for a replacement space came up short.

Shopping carts do more than shuttle food around grocery store aisles — for members of Winnipeg’s homeless community, they often become a way of transporting all of their earthly belongings from place to place.

The problem is, it’s impossible to safely leave unattended a cart full of everything from clothes, bedding, food, tools — even cherished family photos — without the threat of someone coming along and stealing things.