PAGC Urban Services opens new 10 bed shelter to help keep people out of extreme cold weather

Urban Services director says shelter has the capacity for 20 beds if need be

The shelter at Parkland Hall is open from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. for those who need a warm place to sleep (Submitted photo/Geoff Despins)

Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Urban Services staff came together on Monday afternoon to set up a shelter to keep the city’s most vulnerable out of the cold.

Urban Services director Geoff Despins said he was talking to the PAGC executives on Monday and they decided to open up a shelter and keep it running until the cold weather goes by.

“At these times of cold, extreme temperatures the wind chill was unbearable we wanted to make sure people had a place to go,” Despins said.

The shelter is located at Parkland Hall at 1510 9th Avenue West. There are 10 beds set up currently but Despins says the shelter space can accommodate up to 20 beds with physical distancing.

Shelter staff also take clients temperatures as they come into the shelter as part of COVID-19 protocols and measures.

Despins said it took four hours for staff to set up the shelter on Monday.

“The staff really stepped up and we all provided our expertise and (we) had a guy going to Saskatoon to pick up the beds and everybody started getting the food ready, the blankets ready whatever we needed,” Despins explained.

Despins praised the efforts of PAGC emergency response coordinator Natalie Guimond for helping collect donated blankets, pillows and clothing.

For those looking to help out, PAGC is still looking for bedding as well as winter jackets, boots and other clothing. Donations can be dropped off to at PAGC Urban Services at 1410B Central Avenue or picked up by Guimond.

The shelter is open from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. and also provides a hot supper and breakfast for clients.

PAGC Urban Services also runs Community Cares Kitchen and provides meals to clients at the YWCA Stepping Stones shelter and The Gate day and meal program at the Union Centre.

Despins said Urban Services is a big supporter of Stepping Stones and wanted to provide an overflow shelter. He said Stepping Stones will do intake of the clients and then refer and bring them to the Parkland Hall shelter.