Regina community organizations set to open warming station on Saturday

·2 min read

Two community organizations are partnering to open a warm-up station in Regina's North Central neighbourhood.

"Awasiw: A Place of Hope" will open on Dec. 26 and be run by the All Nations Hope Network in partnership with YWCA Regina.

The station will provide overnight shelter for people who may otherwise be battling extreme outdoor conditions during Saskatchewan winters.

"People are at risk out in the cold. We need to answer the call and provide for them," Margaret Kîsikâw Piyêsîs with the All Nations Hope Network said in a release.

The warm up station will be located at #3510 5th Avenue and have warm drinks, clothing and be staffed by the All Nations Hope Network. YWCA Regina's outreach team will also be available to help those in need.

Starting on Dec. 26, the station will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. CST. Starting on Jan. 4 the doors will be open and services available 24 hours a day.

Regina does have a cold weather strategy run by the Mobile Crisis Service from Nov. 1 to March 31. In the past, at times the service received multiple calls for help a night.

However, All Nations Hope said the cold weather strategy has been impacted by COVID-19 as shelters and outreach centres have had to close or drastically reduce their numbers. As a result, some vulnerable populations don't have the same access to drop-in space.

At 8 a.m. on Dec. 25, four shelters in the city were either full or closed, three were listed as call for availability and two had between three to six beds available.

"This year, options are limited, so we are creating new ones," Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO of the YWCA Regina said in a statement.

"It's our vision to provide a place where those battling homelessness or in unsafe housing situations have a place to get out of the cold, get something warm to drink, and stay safe," she said.

All Nations Hope said the station was able to quickly open because of financial contributions from the City of Regina and the Regina Reaching Homes Community Advisory Board. The network is working to secure additional funding to keep the service running throughout the winter.

People can donate funds, warm clothing or supplies.