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Winnipeg shelters bracing for upcoming cold snap – Winnipeg

The racks of donated clothes at Siloam Mission are full but that could change as temperatures are expected to plummet in southern Manitoba later this week.

“Anytime we are looking at a cold snap we start to get worried. Will we have enough for everyone?” Siloam Mission communications manager Luke Thiessen said.

Siloam Mission has been reaching capacity even during the more mild winter weather.

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However, the nicer weather has helped in other ways.

“With the milder weather this year, some of the things we would see with the extreme weather drops, like people coming in with frostbite or medical issues related to the cold weather, we’ve seen less of that,” Thiessen said.

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Click to play video: 'Mild Manitoba winter positively and negatively impacting seasonal activities'

Mild Manitoba winter positively and negatively impacting seasonal activities

Meanwhile, at the Salvation Army, its emergency shelter is seeing average demand but that could also change this weekend.

“We are running about 10 per cent under capacity and I know working with other shelters right now we are just trying to get everyone inside,” Salvation Army Centre of Hope executive director Mark Stewart said.

However, the Salvation Army’s family shelter is a different story. Not only has demand increased due to rising costs, but the waitlist gets longer the colder temperatures get.

“Within our family shelter we have a 60-bed unit where we have men, women and children, single fathers, whatever that family unit looks like and we are seeing a higher number of turnover,” Stewart said.

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As for the weather this week, the shift to more frigid temperatures has already begun, dipping further as the days pass.

“We really start to see it on Friday where the daytime temperature will not get above -16,” Environment and Climate Change Canada warning preparedness meteorologist Natalie Hasell said. “On Friday, temperatures fall to -30 overnight, not a lot of recuperation on Saturday where the forecast is now calling for a high of -25.”

As shelters brace for the extreme cold, they do their best to find a bed for those who want one; facilities coordinate with each other to do so.

They also are calling upon the public to help – donations of warm clothing will hopefully ensure no one goes without.

“Donations of parkas, boots, mittens, long underwear are really appreciated at a time like this,” Thiessen said.

Donation information for Siloam Mission can be found on their website. Salvation Army information can be found on their donations page online.

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