Friendship Centre opens up as cold weather shelter as minus-30 weekend nears

With a snap of cold weather coming, the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre is opening its doors this weekend as a cold weather shelter.

The centre will be opened from 10 p.m.-7 a.m. Jan. 22-24 for people with no other place to go to come in, have food and stay warm. Temperatures on all three nights are expected to drop into the minus-30 degree Celsius range this weekend. 

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"It's a place for those who need a warm place to rest their head - blankets, pillows, mats, all that is available as well," said Amanda Fleury, housing coordinator for the Friendship Centre. Fleury is the lead organizer of the shelter.

"We have two people who are working, there will always be somebody there. It's to get people out of the cold. As far as I checked for the temperatures, up until Tuesday [Jan. 26], it's supposed to be in the minus-30s."

The centre opens occasionally during bouts of cold weather on a temporary basis. Due to a relatively mild winter, Fleury said the centre has not needed to be opened up so far this winter, but will open for the first time of the year Friday.

"This is the first night tonight that it's going to hit the 30s," Fleury said.

"We'll check the forecast and plan ahead for weather and be prepared. As long as the temperature is in the minus-30s, it will be open for anybody who needs a warm place to come and sleep."

The centre will follow all applicable COVID-19 protocols, laying all mats to be used by people six feet apart and providing masks for people as they come in. Sleeping items like blankets and pillows are also available and will be washed each day to prevent any possible transmission.

The centre has some supplies available for people in need, including food - which is supplied by the centre's on-site restaurant and kitchen - but donations of some key items, including coffee, bottled water and similar items, can be accepted by the Friendship Centre. Some local companies have provided food and drink for the centre's shelter, with staff at the centre putting together small goodie bags for people in need, including used winter clothing like mittens and tuques.

"If somebody needs to come here and access the shelter, they can come to the main doors - we have people who are doing security and they can keep an eye out and let them in," Fleury said.

Anyone in need of a place to stay during the above listed times and dates, able to donate supplies or who sees someone possibly in need of a place to stay can contact the Friendship Centre at (204) 687-3900.

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