As we lay down to sleep…..

Our weather over the next while is expected to be “normal” for a Winnipeg winter. In other words, cold. During a December cold snap (translated as cold, cold, cold) a Winnipeg resident died from exposure. As we climb into our warm bed in our warm home, our thoughts turn to this woman and the possible ramifications for other homeless people in our city. At Oak Table we see some of these people, and know that even for those who choose the street, some nights are simply too cold to survive. One of our regulars came in a couple of weeks ago and said he spent the night in jail. His words were, “It was too cold and I knew I wouldn’t survive the night, so I made sure I got put in jail for the night. It’s better than freezing to death.”

Something had to be done.

That is where Augustine United and 1JustCity (of which we are a member organization) took action and “Just a Warm Sleep” was the result. The space that Oak Table uses during the day seemed the perfect spot to offer a warm and safe place to those in need. After all, at least 15 people who regularly attend Oak Table are homeless, and they consider the River Osborne area their neighbourhood. They consider this building to be “a safe place”, a sanctuary. The doors to Augustine United will be open from 9 to 11 pm (any night the temperature falls below -10C) for people looking for a warm, safe place to spend the night. They will be welcomed by volunteers and at 11:00 p.m. Bear Paw Security will supervise until volunteers take charge in the morning. These volunteers will help people clean up and leave for the day.

As you go to sleep tonight know that Winnipeg just became a little kinder and a little safer for people who are homeless. If you want to be part of the solution get involved. If you are a night owl or an early bird, you might choose to volunteer. For more information call 204-995-2944 or email volunteer@1justcity.ca