No matter how cold it is outside, the downtown Trail shelter is usually full.

Since the wintertime-only service first opened nine years ago in an East Trail church, nightly usage has continued to rise and its management evolved from an ad-hoc committee to professional social workers.

“The numbers have absolutely increased,” says coordinator Sheila Adcock from Career Development Services (CDS).

“We have had six per night pretty consistently throughout this cold stretch,” she added.

Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

Giving jobless people in Finland a basic income for two years did not lead them to find work, researchers said.

The aim was to see if a guaranteed safety net would help people find jobs, and support them if they had to take insecure gig economy work.

While employment levels did not improve, participants said they felt happier and less stressed.

This week’s frigid temperatures haven’t caused a run on beds at Penticton’s two emergency shelters – the bunks were spoken for months ago.

“The cold snap is driving a few more in, but, no, it’s been full all winter,” said Roger Evans, who manages the shelters on behalf of the Salvation Army.

The 20-bed Compass House facility on Nanaimo Avenue is open all year, while a new 27-bed winter shelter at the old Super 8 Motel on Main Street is open November through March.

“We’re taking the overflow at Compass House and we haven’t had to turn anyone away – and we won’t turn anyone away,” said Evans. “If we have to let them come in and sit on a couch, we will.”

Bill Raddatz is executive director of Ruth and Naomi’s Mission. He says there is a waiting list for a shelter that guarantees each person a bed for four months, while an emergency shelter has been near capacity.

Raddatz says there is room for about 35 people at the emergency shelter. “We’ve been averaging generally, 20 a night since December … But last night, we had 28, which was probably one of the highest ones since Dec. 1.”

“As a society, hidden homelessness is not considered to be homelessness,” William O’Grady, a sociology professor at the University of Guelph, told Out in the Open.

“Images of homelessness, which appear in the Canadian mass media, for example, usually depict ‘the homeless’ as people living on the streets in large cities like Toronto and Vancouver.”

He added that people living with hidden homelessness may not consider themselves to be homeless, and therefore don’t seek support that may be available — essentially making them “invisible to the service system.”

The federal government is planning to spend an additional $114.7 million to compensate provinces and municipalities for temporary housing costs for asylum seekers.

The money is part of $2.5 billion in new spending plans tabled late Monday as part of the government’s supplementary estimates.

The financial document says the influx of irregular migrants entering Canada has increased pressure on provinces to provide shelter and social services.