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Warming centre opens for Halifax homeless

'We are trying to prevent any injury or death'

3 min read
caption St. Matthews Church on Barrington Street
Piper MacDougall
caption St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street is hosting the warming centre.
Piper MacDougall

A daytime warming centre has opened for people who need a place to go when it’s too cold outside.

The centre is in a large room at St. Matthew’s United Church on Barrington Street. Anyone who’s homeless or without shelter can stop by and have a hot beverage.

“We want to make sure no one is out in extreme weather,” said Sheri Lecker, executive director of Adsum House, one of the organizations running the warming centre. “We are trying to prevent any injury or death.”

Phoenix Youth Program, Out of the Cold Winter Shelter, Shelter Nova Scotia, the Salvation Army and Mobile Outreach Street Health are also involved.

Lecker said the centre is opened if the forecast calls for 20 centimetres of snow or more, or it’s -15 degrees or colder. The hours vary depending on when it is coldest outside.

“If it’s at least -15 outside, it can be open anywhere from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., or 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.,” said Lecker.

Timing and location

Last year, the warming centre was at the Johanna B. Oosterveld Centre on Gottingen Street.

“It was the middle of the winter by the time we got it going, where this year the location is more central and we have the ability to reach out to more people,” said Lecker.

Since the warming centre is only open during the day, Lecker encourages people to find a shelter at night.

Out of the Cold is one option. It’s in the basement of St. Matthew’s United Church, the same building where the warming centre is located this year.

caption Entrance to the Out of the Cold Shelter in the basement of St. Matthew’s United Church.
Piper MacDougall

“It gives people a space to go for the night, if there is extreme snowfall or extreme weather, to a space where they are safe,” said Chelsey Mokler, a case manager with Out of the Cold.

Out of the Cold is an emergency shelter of last resort. Other options for homeless shelters in the city include Barry House, Nehiley House, Phoenix House, Bryony House, Metro Turning Point, and Sir Sanford Fleming House.

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