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'How do people keep warm?' Demand for warmth outpacing supply in winter months


Regina housing advocates Joey Reynolds and Donnie Wood are speaking up, with the hope to spark change to make sure everyone has a warm place to stay, especially at night.

Reynolds has been in and out of homelessness for the past two decades and is all too familiar with spending nights outside in the cold.

“Not quite freezing to death,” he said. “But very frozen when I would wake up.”

Wood helps other find housing and volunteers at various food and soup kitchens.

Wednesday morning, temperatures in Regina hit minus 50 Celsius. Frostbite can occur within two to five minutes of exposure in those conditions.

“How do people keep warm?” asked Wood. “It doesn’t matter what type of winter clothes you have, you’re still going to be cold when you’re out all night.”

Carmichael Outreach said weekly, there is someone coming to their shelter in serious condition caused by the cold.

“We’re going to experience that more and more as we get deeper into the winter,” said development coordinator Amanda Benesh.

During the day, there are six options for warming shelters in the city.

The Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre, ‘SWAP’ on Albert St., The John Howard Society, Carmichael Outreach, Awasiw – The Warming Place and the Regina Public Library are open for individuals looking for warm up, have a coffee or hot chocolate or snack.

Only Awasiw is open during the night.

“In the evening, it’s very limited,” said Benesh.

Benesh said Awasiw’s capacity is about 30 beds for two hour increments. It is also an over 30 minute walk from All Nation’s Hope to Carmichael.

“What are they supposed to do in minus 50? Walk to a new safe place? It’s not an option,” she said. “Everybody has a right to a roof over their head and a warm place to stay. We’re not asking for much.”

While temperatures will remain below zero in the next few months, the extreme cold is expected to make its return.

Wood and Reynolds hope they will see action before the situation turns deadly.

“It’s about priority,” they said. “What is the priority for this community?” Top Stories

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