Our Warming Centre at 430 Langside is open Monday-Friday from 10am to 2pm.
Come get a hot meal, hygiene items, winter gear, and washrooms.
Where some see an empty recreational centre, others see opportunity. West Central Women’s Resource Centre (WCWRC) and Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA) have teamed up with generous funding from End Homeless Winnipeg to open a Warming Centre in the West End in an otherwise unused City space.
The Warming Centre is in the large gym at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre (MERC) at 430 Langside St. and opened its doors in December. It offers a warm space, a hot meal, and access to hygiene items, winter gear, and washrooms in a safe way for Winnipeggers struggling to live on the streets with so few options available to them. Staff on-site can also connect people to supports in the areas of housing, gender-based violence, health, mental health, and substance use.
“What do you do when there’s nowhere to go to get away from -40 degree weather?” asks Lorie English, executive director of West Central Women’s Resource Centre. “So many doors have closed for the public’s safety, but this has increased risk for people experiencing homelessness or living in poverty. The Warming Centre offers a little respite from the cold and a hot meal to a vulnerable population in Winnipeg.”
WCWRC and SNA worked with the City of Winnipeg to transform the unused gym at MERC into a centre with well-spaced tables so people could relax for half an hour and enjoy a meal while staying safe. MERC would have been completely closed and locked with no community services available for over 200 days in 2020 if it weren’t for SNA and WCWRC.
Use of the space and its services will be available to all who need it, including unsheltered individuals of all genders who experience food insecurity and a lack of access to other basic needs. The gym has the capacity to assist 200 people per day.
“There is a housing crisis in the downtown and West End that was not put on pause when the pandemic hit,” says Lin Howes Barr, executive director of Spence Neighbourhood Association. “Folks need somewhere safe to go to get out of the cold, have something hot to eat, and access basic needs. Emergency Housing Shelters are largely not open during the day and none are in the West End. This is a real gap that this new Warming Centre fills.”
The Warming Centre is looking for donations of new or gently used winter wear, such as boots, jackets, toques, mitts, socks, as well as new underwear to give out to community members who need it. If you have donations, please drop them off at 430 Langside during the Centre’s hours or contact 204-333-9681.
“By working together, we can address complex issues and make sure everyone – including those who can’t self-isolate in a safe home – can be healthy and safe in 2021,” says English.
For media inquiries:
West Central Women’s Resource Centre
204-962-8558 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lin Howes Barr
Spence Neighbourhood Association
204-783-5000 ext 103