Burnaby receives provincial award for warming centres

The City of Burnaby has received a provincial award for its “outstanding” leadership behind the city’s warming centres.

The BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) presented its first Community Leadership Award this week, and it went to the team behind Burnaby’s warming centres.

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“The team members act as important points of contact within the community and work closely with a wide variety of internal and external agencies to act quickly and positively to ensure the community’s most vulnerable people are looked after during the winter months,” reads a (BCRPA) news release announcing the award.

The city first opened its warming centres in December 2018 in an effort to provide winter-time shelter to street-entrenched homeless residents. Warming centres provided shelter to more than 2,500 people in 2019, according to the city – a number that’s likely to rise in 2020 with extended operations.

Scheduled to close at the end of March, the warming centres were consolidated into two arenas to allow patrons to keep safe physical distances from one another, and their operations were extended until the end of May. One of those warming centres has since closed, leaving only the Burnaby Lake Arena warming centre open until the end of June.

Warming centre staff help patrons with an array of issues, including access to mental health, addiction and housing supports.

The warming centres, along with mats to sleep on, includes warm drinks, snacks and washroom facilities.

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