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Salvation Army adds dozens of new beds to help newcomers

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The Salvation Army has added 80 new beds to help the many newcomers seeking asylum in Winnipeg.

The organization made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that the number of refugees coming to the city since January 2023 has increased by more than 400 per cent.

By adding these new beds, the Salvation Army is hoping to relieve some pressure from its Centre of Hope, which shelters more than 400 people on an average night.

“We were averaging over 120 refugees a day as a static number,” said Mark Stewart, executive director of the Centre of Hope.

“So that’s men, women, non-binary, as well as children…what we wanted to do is just open up more beds in an emergency shelter setting just to provide more space for people that are coming in.”

The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope is staffed 24 hours a day and offers access to meals, resources, caseworkers, washrooms and showers. Newcomers can go to the intake centre, located at 180 Henry Ave., where they are able to access refugee claimant and newcomer services, including housing and employment support, as well as residency assistance.

"At the end of the day, anybody’s who is coming into the community, we just want to make sure they’re safe,” Stewart said.

“This is a safe space, away from regular emergency shelter, where they can be together in a similar situation.”

According to numbers from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 185 asylum seekers were processed in Manitoba in January 2024. In January 2023, that number was 35.

- With files from CTV’s Joseph Bernacki.

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