Sitting at a table at Hope House, a 34-year-old man who goes by the street name “Spinney” wraps both hands around a mug of hot coffee. After moving from stairwell to vestibule throughout the night, getting a few winks of sleep in each location before being removed by bylaw, he’s happy to be out of the cold.

Spinney and many other people who are homeless choose to stay out on the street, avoiding the local shelter system.

“It’s nice to have the option with the shelters,” he said, but added the system doesn’t work well for everyone. The rules in place at the shelter and the confrontations that can come about when people are in close quarters makes it a challenging situation for many, especially those struggling with mental health and addiction issues, he said.