VANCOUVER – As temperatures drop, the city is making dozens of temporary shelter spaces available in Vancouver effective Friday.

Officials announced the opening of 329 shelter spaces, which will be accessible through the winter months. The total includes 91 temporary beds, which it describes as a "life-saving measure… during the city's coldest, wettest months."

It's the largest number of temporary beds the city has ever offered.

In an emailed statement, the mayor credited funding from the province for the extra space.

"In addition to a warm bed, a place to shower, do laundry and eat, temporary shelters are crucial for providing connections to housing and health services," Kennedy Stewart said.

Earlier this week, a slightly cooler than usual forecast prompted the opening of extra shelter spaces reserved for "extreme weather." The temperature hovered around the freezing mark early Wednesday morning, so the city offered up an extra 100 mats for those looking to come in from the cold.

Environment Canada expects a high of 10 C the day the winter shelter spaces open, but overnight the forecast low is 3 C. The average low for early November is about 4 C.

Vancouver has more than 900 permanent shelter beds available across the city – most of which are open year-round.

As of Friday, another 329 spaces reserved for winter months will be open each night.

On the coldest nights, the city also opens extreme weather response shelters, which add up to 160 spaces to the network. Those spaces are open based on circumstances including the temperature, rainfall and winds.

The city also opens warming centres during cold weather. The sites are in public buildings and do not have beds or mats, but give those living on the street another opportunity to come inside.

The warming centres are only open when the temperature or temperature with wind chill reaches -5 C or lower.

The province issued a similar statement Thursday, announcing about 1,355 temporary spaces and more than 820 extreme weather response spaces would be open across B.C. this winter, in addition to 2,000 permanent beds.

Many of the spaces will be open 24-7 and some also offer meals. A full list of temporary shelters is available on the province's website

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