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Homeless Vancouver women get new shelter

Homeless women in Vancouver have double their chances of getting a warm bed in a women-only shelter this winter.

St. James Community Service Society opened a new emergency shelter yesterday for women in the Downtown Eastside.

“If we keep doing this we are going to beat homelessness,” said Housing Minister Rich Coleman.

Coleman and Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson both spoke at the opening.

“It is a remarkable success story,” said Robertson.

The new shelter space was created in seven weeks, and has 26 beds available for homeless women.

“This [project] has clearly been a break through,” Robertson said.

He is hopeful that more shelters will be opened in Vancouver before the winter weather really starts.

“It’s a fantastic effort and hopefully one of many we are able to do,” he said.

The shelter’s current location on Powell Street is operating with a temporary licence from the City of Vancouver.

It will be used while another women’s shelter down the street is renovated to accommodate the 26 additional beds, according to Jonathan Oldman, the executive director of SJCSS.

Oldman is hopeful that the renovations will be done in two years. The operation budget for the shelter is over $1 million per year, according to Oldman.

Amanda Oye reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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