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Extreme weather response shelters open early

Storm season has arrived earlier than usual this year, and as a result, the Province is providing early funding to any Extreme Weather Response (EWR) shelter in British Columbia that is prepared to open early.

While the EWR season officially runs from Nov. 1 to March 31, almost 30 EWR shelters across Metro Vancouver and around B.C. were able to begin operations Wednesday evening. These additional spaces will increase capacity so that people who are homeless can access a safe and warm place to sleep during the rainy days ahead.

Last winter, more than 1,700 additional shelter spaces in over 80 communities were made available during extreme weather events. These spaces are in addition to more than 1,900 permanent, year-round shelter beds throughout the province. Most permanent shelters are open 24/7 and provide three meals per day.

The Province also funds outreach teams to help connect people who are homeless, or at risk, with housing and support services such as income assistance and mental-health and addictions services.

BC Housing will be updating the BC Shelter Map - http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map - daily to indicate which shelters are open around the province and will be tweeting all EWR shelter openings: @BC_Housing(https://twitter.com/BC_Housing)

A complete list of EWR shelters will be made available in November.

Quick Facts:

* Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4.9 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families.

* More than 104,000 B.C. households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services.

* Last year, the Province provided approximately $204 million to support more than 14,000 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements for those who were homeless throughout British Columbia:

* Close to 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter beds;

* Nearly 8,800 subsidized housing units for individuals who are homeless or homeless at risk; and

* More than 3,200 homeless rent supplements, including over 1,500 monthly rent supplements allocated to providers in the province through the new Homeless Prevention Program.

Learn More:

To hear Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman speak about Extreme Weather Response shelters, go to:https://soundcloud.com/bcgov/minister-coleman-extreme-weather-response-shelters-october-14-2016

For more information on affordable housing programs and the province's efforts to end homelessness in B.C., please visit: www.housingmattersbc.ca/factsheets.html and www.bchousing.org