Calgary’s homeless shelters near capacity as cold snap sets in
As hundreds of Calgarians bundle up to brave the cold weather that’s set in over the past week, the strain of the frigid temperatures is being felt even more by the city’s homeless population.
As temperatures and wind chills dropped past the -30 mark this week, those living on the streets rushed into shelters like the Drop-In Centre and Mustard Seed.
The Drop-In Centre typically sees about 800 clients, but this week hundreds more are looking for warmth.
“We are definitely going to see that 1,100 number definitely this week,” spokesperson Tyler Hallett said.
“And definitely as temperatures drop past that -30 mark, wind chill and everything included, it’s going to be pretty tough outside.”
An extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada on Monday has been dropped, however the city is expected to be under a cold spell for the rest of the week.
Global News weather specialist Jodi Hughes forecasted an overnight temperature of -26 C on Thursday night, and an expected low of -28 C on Friday with a wind chill of about -36.
The extreme cold could be fatal to those living on the streets, as sleeping outside comes with a high risk of hypothermia. Exposed skin could also freeze in a matter of minutes when the temperature drops low enough.
The Mustard Seed shelter in downtown Calgary has also opened its doors to more than 300 people seeking shelter.
The increased demand is leading the shelters to make an urgent plea for extra resources like warm clothes, towels and money.
“Any donations are always really important,” Hallett said. “Meal sponsorship etc… it’s the community that really makes everything we do possible.”
— With files from Gary Bobrovitz
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