White Rock’s daytime warming centre will re-open its doors on November 9 to operate during extreme cold weather periods through March 2023. Located in a modular building in the Centennial Park parking lot, the centre will provide emergency daytime refuge for people experiencing homelessness and will connect them to essential services such as health, personal care, and mental health resources.
The re-opening of the centre follows successful outcomes from the City of White Rock’s pilot warming centre project undertaken from February - March 2022. Key outcomes included a total of 622 visits over 34 days (an average of 18 individuals/day), providing over 1,700 meals, connecting six (6) people to permanent/transitional housing, and connecting centre guests with external health and social services including 32 counselling sessions.
The centre will be operated by trained staff from Engaged Community of Canada Society (ECCS), a local not-for-profit society whose mandate is addressing systemic gaps affecting underserved communities related to complex health, social, and economic challenges. ECCS also operated the centre during last winter’s pilot project.
“Ensuring safe refuge for everyone in our community during extreme weather events is a critical emergency service,” said White Rock Mayor, Megan Knight. “Operating this centre provides our most vulnerable community members with a warm place to keep safe during sub-zero days, with the added benefit of connecting them to essential health care and help they need.”
The centre can accommodate up to 30 people and will operate in conjunction with the emergency overnight shelter at Mount Olive Lutheran Church on days when temperatures are expected to be zero degrees or colder.
The City of White Rock has received a $320,000 grant from the Union of BC Municipalities’ Strengthening Communities’ Services program to operate the warming centre during winter 2022-2023. Additional funding needs are being shared in partnership with the City of Surrey.
More information can be found in the related September 10, 2022 City of White Rock corporate report “Daytime Warming Shelter Single Sourcing Request to Award Fall/Winter2022-23 Contract for Services”.