Vancouver mall offers homeless a safe place to sleep

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s not uncommon to see security guards removing homeless people from business fronts at night.

Vancouver’s Pacific Centre is taking a different approach – they’re inviting those with nowhere to go to come sleep on their property.

The company is also opening its doors and offering the facilities up to people in need first thing in the morning.

Homeless advocate with the Union Gospel Mission, Jeremy Hunka says when homeless people feel like people care they are more likely to reach out for help.

“If businesses reach out and even just treat people with more compassion, it’s more likely for that exchange,” Hunka says. “That relationship can be great for both sides.”

He adds for the most vulnerable people, a little bit of compassion can go a long way, and that compassion can be in the form of a safe place to sleep or the use of facilities.

“When people are homeless and feel like people care and that they are welcomed, they have more opportunity to reach out for help and get out of that circumstance.”

Night shift employees on the property will also conduct life safety checks and are being trained on how to de-escalate confrontations.

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