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Shelter may have to deny homeless this winter

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The First United Church at Hastings and Gore Streets in Downtown Vancouver is worried a crackdown is coming.  It’s concerned the police and government may start forcing them to turn people away this winter.

First United has long been a place for homeless to get out from the cold and they’re often over their 240 person capacity.  Sandra Severs with the church says the City of Vancouver has been willing to look the other way in the past.

But she says VPD officers dropped by this morning to conduct a headcount.  “We just had this sense that what we were experiencing was an increased pressure to stay at that number.”

Severs explains the fact the church is over capacity just weeks into the fall season shows that governments have to get together and form a real strategy to get people off the streets.

“Our fear is that there will be a number of people who have spent time here and will be forced out because the regulatory bodies like the police department and city, will be enforcing a fairly hardline.”

She feels with the numbers already quite high, this year will be another busy year.

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