Estimated 170 people living in 50 camps throughout the city.
The snowstorm about to hit Winnipeg has people living in homeless encampments in the city worried about how they will stay warm in the coming days.
“Nervous, very nervous — and I just hope for everybody to be safe and not lose anybody. We lost somebody last year,” said Lauren Munro.
The 25-year-old lives in an encampment along the Red River by the Norwood Bridge.
Advocates for those who are homeless in Winnipeg estimate there are about 170 people living in 50 camps throughout the city right now.
The first snowstorm of the season could bring as much as 20 centimetres of snow across southern Manitoba by Thursday, with strong winds on Thursday and through Friday.
While temperatures have been above normal for much of this fall, Winnipeg is expected to see highs below the freezing point by Friday, with northern winds gusting up to 70 kilometres per hour.
On Tuesday, Munro and others in the camp were setting up tarps in an effort to block that wind.
She experienced her first winter outside last year and knows how hard it can be to stay warm, “especially because they don’t want fires,” she said.
“The fire department comes here lots and I have a fire in my tent, but I always have to keep watch.… Last year, somebody died from a fire.”
Shelters in the city have space for those who are homeless, but some prefer to hold out as long as they can in their own space, where they can be part of a community, said End Homelessness Winnipeg CEO Jason Whitford.
“Many of them want longer-term solutions to their housing situations, but currently there is a shortage of supportive environments and addiction resources in our community,” he said.
Not enough winter clothing: 1JustCity
Another group working to help homeless people in Winnipeg says it doesn’t have enough winter clothing to keep up with current demand.
“We get people who are still showing up at our door here at our drop-in centre wearing shorts and sandals and going, ‘Hey, I hear it’s going to snow tomorrow. Do you have any winter clothing?'” said Josh Ward, a community facilitator with 1JustCity.
Part of the problem is that people who are homeless don’t have anywhere to store their winter clothes during the summer, Ward said.
End Homelessness Winnipeg’s Whitford says agencies need to do more outreach to build relationships with people living in encampments and help them find supportive housing.
Munro says she is hoping to find a new home soon.
She was living in a hotel, but her methamphetamine addiction led to her eviction, she said.
“I am in this position because of my own actions, because of my lifestyle choices right now.”
She said she plans to stay at the camp for at least another two months, while she is applying for employment and income assistance.
She hopes to find a new apartment by her birthday next February, she said.
Original Article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-homeless-preparing-for-snow-storm-1.6243501