Every year it provides a warm place for homeless Edmontonians to escape the cold but this year, Boyle Street Community Services’ “warming bus” is at risk of not rolling through the streets of Alberta’s capital because of a lack of funds.
Aidan Inglis, Boyle Street’s director of programs, told Global News on Tuesday that his organization needs about $100,000 more to run the bus. For over a decade now, the warming bus has been not only transporting vulnerable Edmontonians to a warming shelter from November through May, but also helping to distribute food, clothing and other support services.
“It’s lost us the opportunity to connect those people to emergency services but also to connect with those folks who aren’t coming in to agencies in the inner city,” Inglis said. “For those that have relied on the bus to provide that service for years, the schedule hasn’t changed. It’s the same route, it’s the same amount of time that they’re at these places – so people are in a pretty dangerous situation if they show up and bus doesn’t.”
Watch below: On Nov. 4, 2017, Julia Wong filed this report about how busy Edmonton’s social agencies are now that frigid weather has hit the city.
Inglis said last year, Boyle Street Community Services had about eight community partners who helped support the warming bus initiative to make sure it got on the road.
“We’re looking to connect with whomever’s willing to help us get this out on the road,” he added. “We’re about a month late, we usually start on Nov. 1.”
Since 1971, Boyle Street Community Services has been working to support vulnerable Edmontonians in the inner city through dozens of programs it says serves over 9,000 people every year.
Inglis said about 60 per cent of people who normally use the bus are homeless and 30 per cent of those sleep on the street.
“We live in a winter city where if folks don’t get out of the sometimes tough spots that they’re in, they can run into some really serious situations,” Inglis said. “So we hope that we can get it (warming bus) on the road sooner than later.”