Despite being at capacity Tuesday, the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre said it does not turn anyone away as the temperature dips to nearly -40 C in Calgary.
The shelter allows people who have previously been barred from the facility to sleep in the lobby near security, according to Jordan Hamilton with the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre.
“It’s called compassionate access, where they can stay downstairs,” Tim Barber, a volunteer and client, said. “They’re just not allowed to mingle on the second floor.”
More than 1,200 people are expected to spend Tuesday night at the Calgary Drop-In, which is about 200 more than on an average night.
“It is what is is. It might not be the best place around but it’s warm,” Greg Martin, a client, said. “It keeps you alive. (You’ve) got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Martin said he’s been going to the shelter on and off for the last couple of years. He’s had difficulty finding permanent work due to the slumping economy and also has a physical disability.
“In an ideal world there would be a better place but we’re not in an ideal world. It is nice to have somewhere,” he said.
Environment Canada issued extreme cold weather warnings for nearly half the province Tuesday. The warnings included Airdrie, Cochrane, Sundre and Olds and stretched south to the U.S. border.