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Friday, December 17, 2010

Extreme or Cold/Wet

This is my latest letter published in both our local papers.

Efforts to aid homeless in Nanaimo falling short
Gordon W. Fuller, The Daily News
Published: Thursday, December 09, 2010

The extreme weather shelter is an issue I have been working on for the past 4 years and it just keeps on going. It is ludicrous that we allow those with warm beds and homes to go to to determine just what is too extreme for those living on the streets.

Despite the lower numbers of people needing the space and the change in the criteria, see below, the word is not getting out to the people and those that make the decision to open the shelter are also not being consistent. There have been many days that the weather when the shelter is closed is equal to or worse than the weather when open.

The bottom line for me is to see the space/beds available from November thru March eliminating the need for others to choose the fate of those outdoors. This would in fact make the choice to come in out of the cold/wet that of the homeless themselves.

I am hopeful that, through the work I am doing, Wallace Mallay's outspokeness on the issue, and with the help of a few other integral links in the community, that this will be the year progress gets made.

Extreme Weather Definition
Extreme weather is defined as a prolonged period during which it is much colder than the average for our locale. In addition, the presence of considerable precipitation in the form of snow, sleet or rain or high winds would be incorporated into a decision to open.

"Implementation of the Extreme Weather Response plan will be called when weather conditions are deemed severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of homeless persons.

Factors taken into account include:
  • temperatures at or below 2 Celsius with rainfall that makes it difficult or impossible for homeless people to remain dry; and/or
  • sleet/freezing rain; and /or
  • snow accumulation; and/or
  • sustained high winds; and/or
  • temperatures at or below 0 degrees Celsius”


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