The Salvation Army provides overnight shelter for the homeless at the Centre of Hope and it also runs a centre downtown.

It has a contract with and receives funding through the provincial government to provide 12 hours of shelter each night, seven nights a week at Centre of Hope, said Maj Murray Jaster.

“The funding does not stretch for more than that,” said Jaster.

The federal government has accepted the city’s request to temporarily make the Moss Park Armoury a winter respite centre, providing up to 100 new spaces for the city’s homeless.

The armoury will open Monday morning, Paul Raftis, head of the city’s shelter system, said on Friday evening, citing necessary preparation time.

“We need this weekend to be able to set up and to serve a hundred people at this location,” he told reporters.

The lights are dimmed in a boardroom at Shepherds of Good Hope, where about a dozen mattresses are scattered around the room.

It’s 9:30 a.m. on Thursday and five women who slept here the night before are still in bed. Others come and go from the washroom down the hall or head outside for a smoke. The room is so muggy that fans have been brought in to help push the dry air around. An artificial Christmas tree stands watch in the corner.

As many as 20 women have to share this room some nights.

“It’s very crowded,” admitted Caroline Cox, the senior manager of transitional shelter services.

Weeks after homeless activists demanded it, Moss Park Armoury will open as a temporary respite centre for Toronto’s most vulnerable citizens.

Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan told reporters at city hall Friday that Ottawa is giving the City of Toronto round-the-clock access to the east downtown National Defence site for two weeks.

The site, sheltering 70 to 100 homeless people from the cold, will act as a “bridge” to city use of a downtown provincial site as an emergency respite centre, Vaughan said. He would not identify that “more permanent” site, referring questions to the Ontario government which has not yet divulged any details.

A homeless shelter in Selkirk, Man., is looking for volunteers after it had to shut down this month because it didn’t have enough staff.

René Gauthier, the chair of the soup kitchen that runs St. Francis Place homeless shelter, says he and another volunteer pulled at least two 13-hour overnight shifts a week at the shelter throughout December before deciding to close its doors for the month of January.

“After a while, it gets you down. You get tired and you know, it’s not healthy,” he said.

Despite plenty of snow and chilly weather Nanaimo’s cold weather shelter hasn’t seen a major spike in visitors.

Located in the basement of the First Unitarian Fellowship on Townsite Road, the shelter provides the homeless with a warm place to sleep and food for free.

Kevan Griffith, shelter coordinator, said there have been 72 unique visitors since opening last year. He said the shelter is running at about 86 per cent capacity and that there was a slight dip in visitors during the holiday season.

A federal cabinet minister says Ottawa is working with Toronto and Ontario officials to help ease the strain on Toronto’s homeless shelter system as temperatures plunge.

Federal Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale says they are trying to find the most effective solution as quickly as possible.

Environment Canada has issued a new extreme cold warning advisory for the city, predicting overnight temperatures as low as minus-25 Celsius with wind chills that could feel like minus-40.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has requested that a federal armoury be opened up as a shelter for the homeless.