Temporary warming shelters being utilized

  • Dec. 31, 2014 4:41 p.m.

The City’s most vulnerable have been utilizing two temporary day shelters since they opened late last month in Red Deer.

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 last month. Trained staff are 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 also 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 also help clients at this site. Clients receive referrals and assistance with housing, cultural services and other community resources.

Both programs will operate to April 30th.

Stacey Carmichael, director of programs for the Safe Harbour Society said staff sees anywhere from five to 15 people daily at The Safe Harbour Society and up to 60 people each day at the Seventh Day Adventist Center.

“The usage has been high. But those numbers are what we were expecting,” she said. “People are grateful that there are these services available. One fellow commented on how safe he feels at the warming centre.”

Both facilities are only temporary and a permanent solution needs to be found in the coming months.

“We are having those discussions of what to do. There have been a lot of conversations taking place not only surrounding an emergency basis, but what the best services we can provide year round are.”

In addition to the warming centre, beds at People’s Place have also increased by 11.

“It’s part of the whole emergency winter program,” said Carmichael. “The beds have been utilized, sometimes not to capacity, but they are certainly being used.”

She added this is due in part to many external factors including people finding homes, which is the ultimate goal.

“People who have been typically in the shelters for a long time are working with our housing team and are getting housed.”