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.