Thankfully, the Government of Alberta has informed us that shelter beds are available in Calgary for those who would like to come in from the cold at night. As well, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) has an emergency plan in place if shelters become overwhelmed. They also work with shelter and other agency partners to help ensure the needs of the homeless are met during the cold months.
Our Community Standards Partner Agency Liaison (PAL) Team has been busy this week, along with the Calgary Police Service and the Downtown Outreach Addictions Program (DOAP) , visiting locations where homeless Calgarians have been known to sleep. These teams check up on people who may need help during the cold weather and to pass out items such as warm socks and other clothing items, and bagged lunches provided by The Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre (SORCe).
This is a time of year when we all need to watch out for one another. If citizens see a person in distress or who is unresponsive, they should call 9-1-1 immediately. If you see a person who needs help, call 311. Here are a few tips for anyone trying to help out a homeless person, or person who is struggling in this frigid climate:
- The person you are helping may have special needs such as a mobility or emotional wellness issue, so be sure to take this into consideration before acting.
- Always keep the person informed of what you are doing and ask for their agreement before taking any action.
- If the person does not agree to the help you are offering, call 311 or 911, depending on the urgency of the situation, to ask for help and guidance.