When the temperatures drop, shelters and crisis workers in Edmonton are working around the clock to ensure no one is left out in the cold.
The 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team typically has two vans on the road at one time, providing rides to some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable people.
“People that are homeless, people that have disabilities, people that need medical attention,” said Curtis Cardinal, one of the members of the team.
“It’s been really busy. It’s been so busy sometimes the phone just won’t stop ringing.”
Since Oct. 2015, the team has responded to 20,404 crisis diversion contacts.
In November, the team had 1,178 crisis diversion contacts. The numbers for December have not yet been released, but they are expected to be high.
“We’re constantly driving from one side of the city to the other. It’s a really tough job,” Cardinal said.
The bulk of the calls the team receives is because people are sleeping in private buildings, such as malls, apartment buildings, stairwells or banks.
Kenny estimates that since the cold snap began, their one van has been responding to about 30 calls a day, which is double their typical call volume.
If you see someone in distress, you can help before police or emergency services are needed by calling 211 and pressing 3 to dispatch the 24/7 Crisis Diversion Team.
The temperature was -30 C in Edmonton on Saturday.