As Calgary enters a cold snap that’s expected to last into next week, members of a local outreach program are asking people to help the city’s most vulnerable residents.
The Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) team from Alpha House has been operating since 2005 and was launched as a mobile response to street-level issues like addiction and intoxication.
Team members head out across the city to help those who live on the street find shelter, battle their addiction issues and maintain their health.
DOAP outreach manager Adam Melnyk said three teams of staff already work 24-7, but cold weather puts them on high alert.
“We know of at least 50 or 60 people camping outside at this point in time,“ Melnyk said. “Some of those people are certainly well prepared for it, but certainly, we want to check on them, make sure everything is OK.”
“At Alpha House, we’re hitting capacity every single night and we’re going, usually, above capacity,” he added.
“Certainly, we’ve seen that at most of the shelters, there is room, so if people do want to come inside, we want to make sure that there is space available.”
Melnyk is encouraging Calgarians who spot anyone living on the street or sleeping outside in the bitter cold to do what they can to make sure that person is OK.
“If you feel comfortable, talking to them, seeing how they’re doing, making sure that they are OK. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching them, then you can certainly call the DOAP team to check on them,” he said.
READ MORE: Calgary’s DOAP team, in jeopardy after funding cuts, hoping for boost from holiday concert
Melnyk added that the DOAP team is equipped with supplies to help the city’s most vulnerable residents.
“We have lunches, socks, toques, gloves. Sometimes we have sleeping bags, and then we also have naloxone kits … In case we come across someone quite serious.”
To contact the DOAP team, you can call 403-998-7388.
To learn how you can help the organization, visit AlphaHouseCalgary.com.
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