How the Main Street Project is helping the homeless during the extreme cold

WINNIPEG — With Winnipeg experiencing record-breaking cold weather over the last few weeks, one charity is helping the city’s most vulnerable stay safe in the frigid temperatures.

The Main Street Project’s van patrol has been on the road 24/7, working with community partners to check in on people and provide rides to the community.

“We fielded about 100 calls minimum a day from the community just asking us to do some well-being checks and we’ve provided over 50 safe rides in the past two weeks to different shelters or residences or places of respite out of the cold,” said Adrienne Dudek, director of supportive and transitional housing for Main Street Project.

Even though the extreme cold in Winnipeg poses a risk every year for the city’s homeless population, Dudek noted there has been an even greater impact this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Things have been compounded, so access to just general spaces where people have been able to keep warm in the past have been reduced,” she said.

HOW THE PUBLIC CAN HELP?

Dudek said that if people see someone in distress or medical distress they should call 911.

“We want to make sure people’s health and well-being, especially in extreme winter, is first taken care of medically,” she said.

She added that people should not hesitate to call the Main Street Project’s van patrol if they are looking for services, support or a well-being check.

Dudek said they have caseworkers to help people with housing. 

“What we’re seeing this year more than ever is a need for housing, so shelters play a really important role in being able to transition people out of the cold, but the long-term impacts are going to be the creation of more housing,” she said.

Dudek added that as much as the charity appreciates donations of warm clothes and coffee, monetary donations will help keep the van on the road for more time.

“Every little bit counts,” she said.

“Every pair of socks we redistribute, every dollar donated goes right back into the program and making sure that van and that team is on the road.”

The phone number for the van patrol is 204-232-5217

– With files from CTV’s Nicole Dube.

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