Tuesday, February 16, 2016

We’re in this together: Engaging Vulnerable People

A new workshop in the Centre City is bringing awareness to the issues faced by Calgary’s homeless.

“The Engaging Vulnerable People workshop is a partnership that helps people living and working downtown better understand and interact with Calgarians who are marginalized,” said Cathy Taylor, project manager for The City of Calgary.

“Talking about the homeless population it’s very easy to ignore them, cross the street, or try to avoid an encounter with them based on fear,” said workshop trainer Samantha Urias. “But by educating ourselves we can create a kinder and safer community to engage with these folks.”

Photo courtesy of Christina + Nathan Photography.
Not all Calgarians are comfortable being approached by someone who is homeless or interacting with them. People living and working in the Centre City have expressed an interest in better understanding Calgarians who are vulnerable or marginalized so they can engage in a more positive way. The workshop responds to this need in the community.

The workshop is a partnership between eight downtown agencies, two Business Revitalization Zones and The City of Calgary. It’s available in three hour and 1.5 hour sessions and provides businesses, organizations and individuals with:
  • accurate information about Calgary’s homeless population;
  • sensitivity skills for relating to persons experiencing homelessness and
  • safety and non-violent crisis intervention techniques to increase confidence.

The workshop also provides community resources or agencies to contact when help or advice is needed.


“There will always be an us and a them,” said Max, a client of the Drop-In Centre. “What we have to work on is accepting the differences between us. Not to totally understand but to say, ‘I’m willing to accept you just as you are.”

“That is the message that I’d like to get out to people,” he said. “That we’re all in this together.”

Group workshops can be booked anytime. Workshops for individuals are happening in February and March. Visit calgary.ca/evpworkshop to learn more or to book.

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