Warming centre set up for homeless

Safe Harbour Society, the City of Red Deer and other organizations have worked together to provide a place for individuals experiencing homelessness to warm up during the cold winter months, following the recent closure of Berachah Place.

“Our community has come together to provide support and a place of connection for our most vulnerable citizens during the cold winter months,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We are grateful for the hard work of so many concerned individuals as we address this critical need.”

Representatives from the City, the faith community, the Aboriginal community and support organizations met earlier this month to discuss both short and long-term solutions to providing a warm, safe place during daytime hours for individuals who are homeless and vulnerable to the elements. While all agreed to further collaborate on a long-term solution, the logistics have been finalized for a one-time, short-term solution, Veer added.

Starting this past Monday, the Safe Harbour Society (5246 53 Ave.) extended its day support hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, seven days a week. Trained staff will be available, as well as shower and laundry facilities, for individuals with physical and mental disabilities or illnesses, or for those who are too affected by drugs or alcohol to be safe outside in the cold.

Other individuals with fewer care needs can now attend a temporary warming centre at the Seventh Day Adventist Center (5014 49 St.) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, seven days a week. Trained staff from Safe Harbour will also help clients at this site. In alignment with the City of Red Deer’s vision to end homelessness, clients will receive referrals and assistance with housing, cultural services and other community resources.

Both programs will operate to April 30th.

– Fawcett