With cold weather on the calendar for the next week, the Salvation Army on Central Avenue has opened up a temporary Warming Shelter called the Sally’s Do Drop Inn.
Major Ed Dean of the Salvation Army said they opened Monday morning from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Dean said roughly 25 people took advantage of the space on Monday.
“(They were) warming their hands and having a bite to eat,” Dean said. “It’s not a place for sleeping, it’s not a place to call home, but it is a place that you can warm your hands, warm your feet, possibly find a hot cup of coffee to warm the insides and carry on.”
The sudden drop in temperatures over the weekend necessitated the move, according to Dean. After weeks of warmer than usual conditions, temperatures plunged to -21 C Monday morning. It’s expected to stay cold for the rest of the week, with Environment Canada anticipating highs of -15 C on Tuesday, -21 C on Wednesday, -23 C on Thursday, -24 C on Friday, and -29 C on Saturday.
“We opened this in in response to our neighbours that may not have that warm house or that warm bed, and so need some place to come in for a little bit just so that they warm up,” Dean said. “Then they can move on again.”
The Salvation Army has adapted the space to suit the needs. Dean said they’re opening hours are designed to coincide with when meals are served.
“Then we will have volunteers that will monitor what’s going on in the space,” he explained. “There are no drugs, no alcohol allowed. There’s not a place for showers or laundry. It’s a place to warm.”
With a cold week on the horizon, Dean said that they plan to offer the space to those in need for the foreseeable future.
“Temperature will dictate what is needed and we will monitor it to see what the need is, and as need arises,” he explained. “It’s cold…. If we can get somebody in and warm their feet so that they don’t lose their feet, it’s a whole lot cheaper than sending them to hospitals for a number of hours and then them possibly losing their feet.”
Dean added that their hope is to offer the space for cold days like we will experience this week.
“For the next week or so, I think we’re going to see some extremely cold days,” he said. “We are going to do our part to help our neighbour to be a little bit more comfortable.”
He said the space that they used will still become their new Dining Hall in the future.
“They hadn’t told me to stop yet and they ain’t going to tell me to stop because I’m one of these guys that will push back a little bit,” Dean said.