City of Port Coquitlam has offered an urban facility as an extra shelter as cold temperatures give rise to concerns about the city’s homeless population
A Port Coquitlam woman shares her concerns that people are homeless in extreme weather after meeting two men shaking in the cold.
Her comments were addressed to the city mayor and Tri-City news, where Suzanne L’Hereux asks, “I hope there is a reasonable explanation for why PoCo does not have shelters to help the homeless.”
She is not alone, as dozens of people have addressed comments and concerns Tri-City news over the years asked why no more is being done for local homeless people.
L’Heureux said in her letter that she met two men who told her there were nowhere they could go.
“I bought hot food and drinks for two decent homeless men. I spent some time chatting with them and inquired into their situation where they slept the night before. One slept at the entrance to Fresh Mart, the other in the bushes close by. “The Coquitlam River. The latter is 65 years old and has been homeless for 10 years,” she wrote.
But according to the city, efforts have been made to provide people with shelter and a warm space during the recent winter period, including during the Christmas holidays and this week.
Dominic Long the, director of business support and community safety, said the city has offered space at The Outlet and has prepared beds.
It works with senior government levels to make the space accessible.
Meanwhile, people in need of shelter are being driven to the extreme weather shelter at the Kyle Center in Port Moody, which offers mats for 20 people and hot food.
“Our city staff sought out homeless people (most of whom they know by name) and offered them direct transportation to the accommodation and then back to Port Coquitlam during the day, along with storage of belongings,” Long said in an email.
“Some individuals accepted the offer while others did not. For those who did not, we make blankets and items available to stay warm. We also announced that the Port Coquitlam Community Center was open during the day. , so people could get warm. ”
Meanwhile, the only permanent shelter available in Tri-Cities is the one at Gordon Ave 3030 in Coquitlam, on the border with Port Coquitlam. However, this facility, which offers 30 transitional accommodation, 30 individual rooms and 15 dormitories, has been in capacity for some time.
(The sleeping beds typically accommodate 30 people, but occupancy has been reduced due to COVID-19).
In addition, there is an additional shelter for vulnerable people at the Sure Stay Hotel in Coquitlam. But it is only available by reference.
Several churches have offered space for a shelter, but as yet there is no provider.
Yet Port Coquitlam maintains that it is taking a “compassionate approach” to those without shelter at present.
“As I mentioned, our bylaws know most of them by name, know their history and other challenges they may face, including mental health and addiction issues. In addition to the above, our city has been a strong advocate for our MLA needs. for a wide range of services, including housing. “
The city’s mayor, Brad West, also said he plans to contact L’Heureux about her concerns.
Meanwhile, L’Heureux’s comments in her inquiry to Tri-City news resonates with many concerned about those who do not have a home at this time.
“They are people who deserve respect and kindness and should be considered citizens of PoCo,” she wrote.