As temperatures dip lower over the holiday week, the city’s homeless shelters find themselves packed with people and short on space.
The Hope Mission in central Edmonton usually shelters around 500 people a night.
However, with temperatures dropping below -20 C over recent days, that number has increased to over 600 people.
“They’re not going to chance it outside in a homeless camp or in a car,” said Devin Komarnisky, communications coordinator with Hope Mission.
“They’re trying to get out of this cold weather because it can be life threatening.”
Komarnisky says they provide sleeping mats and floor space to people coming in looking for a place to escape the cold. But with the cold snap expected to continue for the week, he says the shelter is likely to see even more people.
“People are packed in here in the evening like sardines,” he said.
“We supply as much space as we can. That’s just the reality of people needing a bed instead of sleeping out on the streets.”
Komarnisky says the Mission is also in desperate need of donations of warm clothing.