In response to the public health need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calgary Drop-In Centre, Community and Social Services, Alberta Health Services, and community partners are working together to create a safe space at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) for community members experiencing homelessness. By acting as a temporary site for clients of the Calgary Drop-In Centre who have not tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, this joint response aims to best meet the needs of vulnerable populations as the pandemic intensifies.
The temporary facility at the CTCC is being funded by the Government of Alberta with support from the City of Calgary and other community partners.
“I am thankful to be involved in this vital work to protect vulnerable Albertans in partnership with the Calgary Drop-In Centre,” said Minister of Community and Social Services Rajan Sawhney. “Communities across the province are setting up facilities to meet their local needs and I have seen first hand how the $25 million from the Government of Alberta has enabled homeless serving agencies to meet social distancing requirements set out by public health.”
“We are grateful the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre has chosen to partner with us to help address sufficient physical distancing among the people that require our support,” said Calgary Drop-In Centre Executive Director, Sandra Clarkson. “These are highly unusual and challenging times, and it’s inspiring to see the community come together to support our city’s most vulnerable people.”
The CTCC location will provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week for up to 300 people without a fixed address. The opening of this satellite shelter will ensure all Calgary Drop-In Centre shelters can operate within large enough spaces to allow for appropriate physical distancing, thereby reducing the risk of proliferating the COVID-19 virus in these buildings.
“The CTCC is proud to step-up during our community’s time of need, and play a role in mitigating the impact on Calgarians, which includes our city’s most vulnerable citizens,” said the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre President and CEO Kurby Court.
AHS is supportive of the municipal partners in providing alternate housing approaches for those without permanent residences. AHS has provided guidance to the Calgary Drop-In Centre regarding important screening, and infection prevention and control measures.
The CTCC currently anticipates acting as a temporary site for the Calgary Drop-In Centre for a period of two months.
Calgary Drop-In Centre staff will conduct screening for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the relocation of Calgary Drop-In Centre clients to the CTCC, and staff will continue to monitor symptoms at the CTCC. The security and safety of all people entering the facility is of paramount importance, and enhanced hygiene and safety measures will be taken.