Sally Ann executive director urging community to look out for each other. (Priyanka Ketkar/The NEWS)

Sally Ann executive director urging community to look out for each other. (Priyanka Ketkar/The NEWS)

Homeless shelters in Maple Ridge averaging 70 people during freezing nights

We need to be kinder and look out for each other, says Salvation Army executive director

The Arctic outflow warning that has temperatures dropping to as low as -20 C this week in Metro Vancouver has put the focus once again on the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows ministries and how they are dealing with this extreme weather.

Mark Stewart, the executive director with the army told The News that the shelters were almost at capacity.

“At the moment, we are averaging about 65 to 70 people at night,” he said, adding that they had 25 more spots that they would be able to add at a moment’s notice if needed. Right now though, Stewart is not anticipating needing to open up more beds.

However, the shelter has been seeing a lot more people during the day. According to Stewart, since the shelter also serves as a warming centre during the day and the evenings, those who just want to come in for some warmth and not to spend the night, have been coming in.

ALSO READ: Maple Ridge’s Salvation Army ready for extreme weather

On Sunday, the shelter also offered soup to those who stopped by during the day.

The forecast now has freezing temperatures this week, with a high of -3 C and a low of -10 C with temperatures staying near or below -20 C due to the wind chill. The cold wind chill is expected to moderate during the day on Wednesday with an increase in temperatures. However, Environment Canada has snow in the forecast for Thursday, Dec. 30 for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

“It is so cold out there that if you see someone struggling, please call the paramedics or 9-1-1. I am not talking necessarily only about the vulnerable and the homeless, but anyone, be it seniors in the community, or even your neighbours. We, as a community will need to come together, look out for each other and show kindness to each other through these rough weathers,” said Stewart.

ALSO READ: Western Canada under extreme cold warning, wind chill reaching -55 C

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