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This article was published 4/2/2019 (351 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg's addicted and chronically homeless will soon have a place to get some refuge from the cold.
A drop-in warming centre will be opened this week by the downtown Main Street Project for people not spending the night in a bed in a traditional shelter.
"Our goal is to have a 24-hour facility which accommodates everyone, including everyone falling through the system," Adrienne Dudek, MSP director of transitional and supportive housing, said Monday.
"We're not opening a second shelter. We are opening a space where people can get off the street and get some respite from the cold... this is another option because our shelters at times are full."
The drop-in centre is the first section in the longtime charity's plan to create a groundbreaking facility to help the city's chronically homeless and addicted.
Last year, the Free Press reported the Main Street Project had envisioned a $6.5-million shelter inside the former Mitchell Fabrics building on Main Street at Logan Avenue. It would not only have room to house 120 recovering addicts and homeless people who were undergoing medical procedures, but the MSP also proposed to include a safe-consumption site — the first to allow both alcohol and supervised injections for people battling addictions.
Plans call for the facility to also have 25 showers and a 24-hour cafeteria.
Also first reported by the Free Press last September, as the construction and renovation progressed, the first area the charity planned to open was a drop-in warming centre.
Dudek said the warming centre would not be providing mats to sleep on, because that's not its purpose.
"There is a large number of people we work with who don't access the traditional shelters... this is a place for people to get out of the cold," she said. "The people are free to leave and go out and then come back... It will be a hospitable, dignified space."
Meanwhile, Dudek said the rest of the project is proceeding forward as scheduled.
A spokeswoman for the provincial government said: "The province has recently received a request for funding for the Main Street Project expansion, which is currently being reviewed."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.