As the city gets ready for a cold snap, homeless shelters are making sure that Calgary’s most vulnerable have a place to stay.
While several organizations said that space shouldn’t be an issue, there is a need for donations, especially winter clothing.
Hilary Jenkins, senior manager with Inn from the Cold, said donations tend to drop off in January and that the economic downturn has meant less monitory donations.
“We rely on the community to support us throughout the entire year,” said Jenkins.
”No matter the weather, there’s always a need.”
Jackets, gloves, toques and boots are among the most-needed items across the city.
Jenkins added that winter clothing of any size is accepted at the downtown location.
“We provide winter wear for families and for children of all ages,” explained Jenkins. “When most families arrive at the emergency shelter, they don’t have winter gear.”
Calgary police estimate there are 2,800 homeless Calgarians and Staff Sgt. Frank Cattoni said the dangers of living on the streets are magnified when the temperature drops.
“We’re always concerned about the safety of this population because often we see them wandering around late at night.”
Cattoni said officers are working closely with shelters to triage the homeless to the appropriate organization.
Natalie Noble – a director with the Calgary Drop-In Centre – said the centre is ready for an influx of clients.
“Our staffing levels are up and we have enough mats for everybody,” said Noble. “We’re making sure we have enough space to keep everyone warm.”
Noble added that the Drop-In Centre does have an overflow shelter it can open if needed but that it expects to be able to handle the increase in numbers at its main location.
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