January 10, 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.

Our December 22nd announcement blog mentioned the focus on three key areas of response:

Create more warm spaces

This week’s update:

  • The Mustard Seed’s warming centre at 102 11 Ave SE has added an additional four hours to its daily operating schedule and is now open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (previously 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Finalizing logistics with Wood’s Homes for an expansion of existing services.
  • Continued conversations with multiple agencies, including faith communities and public service providers to expand existing infrastructure and resources to support a coordinated response.
  • Shelter usage has remained steady, with continued warm spaces available for those who need them.

Provide basic winter safety essentials

This week’s update:

  • Identification of 26 outreach teams in our city, with a high level of interest in contributing to a coordinated response.
  • Selection of a central Outreach Basic Needs Distribution Centre completed.
    • Finalizing logistics to open the Distribution Centre to make it easy for outreach teams to acquire cold-weather supplies as needed.
  • Ongoing distribution of immediate emergency supplies to several outreach teams over the last three weeks will continue, leveraging the Outreach Basic Needs Distribution Centre once it is operational.

Support community efforts to reduce barriers to shelter access

This week’s update:

  • Increased capacity for Alpha House DOAP team to provide support and transfer individuals from unsafe conditions to safety and support services. This consists of three mobile teams, and one team dedicated to Calgary Transit platforms.

This week’s challenges:

  • The rise of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant has impacted staffing levels across key stakeholders involved in providing or facilitating support.
  • Cold weather is affecting the plumbing of one of the warming programs.
  • On-going below average temperatures and extreme weather warnings.

Upcoming focus:

  • Increased coordination and support for individuals using Calgary Transit stations and trains to keep warm, with a focus on helping these individuals to access shelter services.
  • Continued coordination with outreach groups including the development of coordinated data tracking across teams to understand the emerging needs as they happen.