Service providers and Mayor Gondek address public safety and supports for all Calgarians
Community partnerships key to ensuring safety for all
CALGARY – Today, The City of Calgary and the homeless serving sector came together to announce plans to ensure the safety of all Calgarians, and to provide support for people who have been sheltering overnight in enclosed C-Train stations.
The recent extreme cold snap in Calgary has been especially difficult and dangerous for Calgarians experiencing homelessness. Approximately 170 people per night have been seeking out C-Train stations this past week for shelter. However, these stations are not designed to be used as shelter as they are not equipped with even the most basic of amenities such as washrooms, nor are they heated throughout the night. There are safer places to shelter inside available for people who are unhoused to seek accommodation and supports.
“Calgarians’ safety is our top priority,” says Mayor Gondek. “Calgarians who are unhoused and in positions of vulnerability need safe spaces for shelter, and all Calgarians need to feel safe on our transit system. This multi-agency, coordinated approach will provide the highest and best outcomes for all Calgarians. I am grateful to our partners who are working together with each other and the City of Calgary under very challenging circumstances.”
Starting January 10, targeted C-Train stations will be closed to the public between 10 p.m. and start of service the following day. This will include Southland, Heritage and Anderson stations. This comes with the confirmation of additional community supports for those experiencing homelessness, as well as anticipated change in the weather. LRT platforms to access trains and Transit service will still be available and trains will still run on their regular schedules.
In collaboration with Calgary Homeless Foundation, Calgary Transit officers will conduct visits of affected C-Train stations. Together, they will work with outreach service providers to provide those who have been staying in C-Train stations transportation to shelters and connections to additional community resources.
In December, Council approved a one-time investment to enable additional cold weather supports for unhoused Calgarians through the winter of 2021-22. These funds are being administered by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and provided to organizations offering outreach services and supports for unhoused Calgarians.
“Shelters have capacity to accommodate those in Calgary experiencing homelessness,” says Sandra Clarkson, Executive Director, Calgary Drop-In Centre. “Shelters offer not just a warm place to sleep at night but additional supports including, food, washrooms, showers, health care, mental health and addiction support, with the goal to transition to long-term housing. We are here to help.”
“We want to ensure the safety of all Calgarians – those experiencing homelessness as well as Transit users,” says Sam Hope, Safety and Security Manager with Calgary Transit. The City of Calgary will be taking steps to ensure that LRT stations are safe for all and everyone is able to access public transit.”
Calgarians who encounter people who appear to be in distress can call/text/chat 211 or visit www.ab.211.ca 24-hours a day. If you see someone who needs help you can call the DOAP (Downtown Outreach Addiction Partnership) Team at 403-998-7388. If someone is in serious distress or non-responsive, call 911.