January 13, 2022

Calgary Homeless Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Calgary, Government of Alberta, shelter agencies, community organizations, and outreach teams are implementing several measures as part of the Coordinated Community Winter Response. CHF has engaged in conversations with community partners to inform immediate actions, such as those listed below. We are also committed to ongoing collaboration with community partners to develop long-term responses to serve better those experiencing homelessness.

This week, we announced our Coordinated Community Winter Response Grant in an effort to partner with community organizations to enhance services, remove barriers, and invest in new approaches to the system of care during colder months. Applications are accepted until March 31, 2022.

Below are the week’s additional updates on the goals of the Coordinated Community Winter response:

Create more warm spaces

This week’s update:

  • Re-opening of The Bridge at The Drop-In Centre: Funded by the Government of Alberta, the pilot project is currently underway during the winter months to support individuals not accessing the main shelter. Individuals can warm themselves, access washrooms, snacks, the clothing room, and get relief from the cold. The DI believes that the Bridge program offers an opportunity to begin supporting individuals to overcome barriers to safe housing options. The hours of operation are from 7am to 8pm. There were 138 unique visits to the Bridge between January 6th and January 13th, 2022.
  • Wood’s Homes launched the Inglewood Opportunity Hub: A warming centre where multi-barriered youth (12-29) can access a warm shower, clothing and food are provided, along with mental and physical health support.
  • From January 6th to January 13th, there were 362 unique visits to The Mustard Seed’s warming centre, where participants can also access services including food, winter wear, and additional bussing to the shelter.
  • Continued conversations with multiple agencies, including faith communities and public service providers, specifically about the creation of additional warming centres.
  • Shelter usage has remained steady, with continued warm spaces available for those who need them.

Provide basic winter safety essentials

This week’s update:

  • The opening of the Outreach Basic Needs Distribution Centre, where outreach teams in Calgary can gather cold-weather supplies as needed. Within two hours of launching, five orders were submitted.
  • Continued coordination and conversations with 26 outreach teams in our city, with a high level of interest in contributing to a coordinated response.
  • Ongoing distribution of immediate emergency supplies to several outreach teams over the last three weeks will continue as a supplement to the Outreach Basic Needs Distribution Centre.

Support community efforts to reduce barriers to shelter access

This week’s update:

  • The launch of the Shuttles from LRT Stations to Emergency Shelters, which made a total of 233 transfers from unsafe conditions in LRT stations to shelter with the necessary amenities to support their wellbeing between January 11th and January 13th.
    • This is a result of a coordinated effort between Alpha House Society, The Alex, BeTheChangeYYC, Calgary Homeless Foundation, The Mustard Seed, Sober Crew/AIM, Street Sisters, HarvestHillsYYC and Calgary Transit.

Upcoming focus:

  • Ongoing collaborative conversations with warming centre teams to understand emerging needs and trends and adjust the response accordingly.
  • Continued coordination with outreach groups including the development of coordinated data tracking to understand the emerging needs and ongoing successes.
  • Understanding supply requirements for outreach teams utilizing the distribution centre.
  • Responding to new partnership opportunities outside of the traditional homeless-serving system of care (ie. faith communities and donation centres)