A new mobile care clinic will soon be seen on the streets of Calgary offering free health-care services to people experiencing homelessness and addiction issues.
Through a partnership with TELUS and The Alex Community Health Centre, the newly revealed The Alex Mobile Care Clinic was launched Tuesday morning. The clinic will help provide a service that The Alex CEO Joy Bowen-Eyre said has only grown in necessity over the last few years.
“The pandemic has actually exponentially increased demand for services, specifically mental health and addictions within the city of Calgary and specifically for our population,” Bowen-Eyre said.
“So we know that this bus will deliver the right service at the right time, to the right individual, and with the right provider.”
The clinic will be staffed with both a nurse and a peer support liaison and will offer an array of free health-care services, including addictions management, contraception and women’s health services, harm reduction services, and mental health care and counselling.
David Fraser, a peer support worker with The Alex, believes this clinic will help build a bridge to care for those who often face too many barriers for conventional help, and could even help save lives across the city.
“As somebody who has had a lot of lived experience in mental health, addictions and homelessness, when I was dealing with these issues there wasn’t anything like this in existence,” Fraser said.
“A lot of people that I know and love passed away and would maybe still be here if something like this had existed.”
Fraser added that initiatives like these have created hope for a better future for health care and all those who need it.
“There’s a gap in service, and a lot of the folks that will be utilizing the bus either have too many barriers to access something like a hospital or clinic, or feel stigmatized,” he said.
“To have something like this on the roads in the city is leaps and bounds ahead of where it used to be.”
The clinic will travel to partnering organizations, such as the Calgary Drop-In Centre, and will offer its services to any Calgarian ready and willing to access them.
“We want people to receive services when they feel comfortable,” Bowen-Eyre said.
“We want them to feel comfortable when they step inside the bus, and we want them to feel that the services they need are accessible when they want them.”
Calgary’s new mobile unit is part of a larger initiative, the TELUS Health For Good program, which operates across Canada and is now home to 22 mobile clinics across the country.