In the Fraser Valley, where more than two feet of snow has fallen, advocates for the homeless say the situation is dire.
Pastor Ward Draper with Abbotsford’s Five and Two ministry says their shelter is operating up to 60 per cent over capacity, and even than many in the area are still sleeping outside.
“It’s just bad. I mean they’ve got nowhere to go, there isn’t space for everybody in Abbotsford, so a lot of people are just hiding though the day and developing colds and other related illnesses. It’s just been really really rough.”
Draper says while this bout hasn’t been as cold as last time, many are still struggling to keep warm, with an accidental fire in one homeless camp already.
“Living outside in these kind of conditions, I mean you’re prone to many kinds of things- Frostbite, pneumonia, flues, you know the increased risk if you’re using narcotics, you pass out in a snow drift and die. I mean there is just so many different bad scenarios. You know fires at camps where people die. Snow cave ins – that’s happened so far this year.”
He says service providers are stretched when it comes to supplies and volunteers and are looking for any help they can get.