News & Stories


COVID-19 Response – As of March 3

February 23, 2021

As of February 23 at 12 p.m., there are no active cases of COVID-19 known between the clients or the staff at the Calgary Drop-In Centre. We work in close partnership with The Alex who is operating the Assisted Self Isolation Site for our client population, and all positive client cases are promptly referred to this location.

Important to note is that a total of 157 clients and 92 staff members have recovered since July 2021, which was the start of our most recent outbreak. There have been a total of 157 cases in our client population and 92 known cases among staff during this fourth outbreak. We would also like to make note that the reported staff cases are DI staff members who have disclosed that they are positive, not a reflection of cases contracted within the shelter. These are disclosed at the discretion of the staff members themselves, and we report those numbers for a more complete data and safety picture of the pandemic at the DI.

We are working with Alberta Health Services, The Alex, and other partners in the sector to test out pilot vaccination clinics as early as April 21, both in our main shelter and in our satellite shelter. While the specifics surrounding these clinics have yet to be confirmed, it is our hope that we are able to use these initiatives as a means to vaccinate our population where they are at and reduce the barriers they may have in getting a vaccine. So far, we have been able to provide 910 vaccinations to clients through these pilots. Of those vaccinations, 499 are first doses, 380 are second doses, and 31 are boosters. This number will continue to grow as these clinics continue. We have also begun collaborating with those within our sector to support the vaccination rollout, and are proud of the outreach we can achieve by working together with our peers.

Since March 2020, the DI has been on the frontline of the pandemic and we have been doing everything we can to prevent the spread. Taking guidance from Alberta Public Health, our response includes:

  • Increasing cleaning throughout our shelter and buildings
  • Requiring PPE for all on-site employees, contractors, and visitors
  • Handing out masks and providing hand sanitizer to clients
  • Completing more than 3,000 on-site tests
  • Installing barriers in select sleeping quarters
  • Increasing our housing efforts, finding homes for more than 350 people since March
  • Negotiating for additional shelter space in the city

Our community’s homeless population are making impossible decisions right now with the extreme cold and escalating pandemic, and we are committed to keep doing everything we can.

We thank Calgarians for their compassion during this time.

Outbreak Data:

Outbreak #1

Dates of Outbreak: April 26 – June 25

Clients Staff
Total Confirmed Cases 22
Total Tests Administered (on-site) 1,089 n/a


Outbreak #2

Dates of Outbreak: August 22 – October 15

Clients Staff
Total Confirmed Cases 12
Total Tests Administered (on-site) 387* 291*


Outbreak #3

Dates of Outbreak: November 5, 2020 – July 8, 2021
These numbers were updated on July 8, 2021

Clients – Main Building Clients – Overflow Shelter Staff
Total Active Cases 0 0 0
Total Confirmed Cases 251 9 53°
Total Tests Administered (on-site) 5,017* 261* 945*


Outbreak #4

Dates of Outbreak: July 28 – Present
These numbers were updated on March 3, 2022

Clients – Main Building Clients – Overflow Shelter Staff
Total Active Cases 0 0 0
Total Confirmed Cases 156 1 92°
Total Tests Administered (on-site) 1573* 42* 382*

* These numbers only reflect COVID-19 tests taken on-site. This does not account for COVID-19 tests taken at other locations.
° These numbers only reflect the amount of self-reported and confirmed staff cases of staff associated with the DI, regardless of where the confirmed testing was done.

Summary of Response to Date:

April 2021

  • In-house clinics were run as a pilot program for the first time, with over 100 clients vaccinated between main building and 2507. In total, over 160 clients have had at least their first dose of the vaccine, with three already receiving both doses.
  • The DI was shortlisted for three Bhayana and Agency awards for its work during 2020. In the individual categories, the DI’s own Alvin C., Fatima M., and Melanie M. were also shortlisted.

March 2021

February 2021

  • With the cold snap in early February, the hours of the clothing room have been increased to accommodate anyone who needs warm clothing, as well as utilizing additional space to ensure anyone who needs shelter from the cold can access it.

January 2021

  • A cold weather plan is now in effect, which will incorporate the safety and PPE procedures that have been implemented due to COVID-19.

December 2020

  • Masks became mandatory for clients in social isolation spaces in the main building.
  • We were included in the province’s rapid-testing pilot, offering rapid testing for DI clients.

November 2020

  • We continue to prioritize on-site asymptomatic testing, contact tracing, and isolation for folks who test positive as well as their close contacts.
  • We are not required to turn anyone away and we are doing everything we can to make our shelters as safe as possible.
  • Because we were proactive and put up barriers on our dorm floors, we do not have to reduce our shelter capacity at this time.

October 2020

  • On October 17, our Clothing Room re-opened for the community at our main shelter. The hours of operation are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Clothing Room can be accessed via 4th street on the north side of the building.
  • Our outbreak status lifted on October 15, increasing our main shelter capacity by 160.
  • During the second outbreak at the main shelter, we reported a total of 12 cases among clients and two cases among staff.

September 2020

  • Our housing team exceeded their goal of housing 250 people during a global pandemic. We couldn’t have done this work without the support of the community, including all the landlords who stepped up and believed in people as much as we do. Thank you, Calgary!

August 2020

  • We re-open volunteer opportunities for individuals and small groups at our Donation Centre only. Volunteer opportunities in our main building remain unavailable.
  • We learned of a new positive case at our main shelter and we return to outbreak status. Outbreak protocols are swiftly put in place and mass client and staff testing take place.

July 2020

  • Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) resumes its regular business after several weeks of providing immense support for the homeless population.

June 2020

  • With the support of Calgary Homeless Foundation, we open a transitional housing building. This program becomes available to clients working on a housing plan.
  • We are removed from the outbreak list because of no COVID-19 cases.

May 2020

  • We mandate mask use for all employees, visitors, contractors, and clients in all of our buildings. We provide masks to clients if they’re going into the community.
  • Calgary landmarks light up in orange to celebrate front-line workers in the homeless sector.
  • We continued to have on-site testing for clients and staff.

April 2020 

  • We partnered with Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) and as of today, we have opened our second satellite shelter funded by the Government of Alberta. This space will shelter up to 300 people and allow us to reduce our main shelter capacity by 50%. Food, showers, and bathrooms will also be provided.
  • We experienced an increase in overdoses – a total of 47 in March compared to 11 in February. We suspect this may continue during this challenging time as people turn to various coping mechanisms.
  • We received SO MANY donations of PPE, food, clothing, cash, and more from the community. Thank you!
  • We receive word of our first positive cases and go into outbreak status. Around 20 people were infected by COVID-19 during this outbreak.
  • The housing team embarks on an ambitious goal to house 250 people in the Go Big, Go Home housing campaign.

March 2020

  • We opened our 24/7 satellite shelter for 56 people.
  • We began screening clients for symptoms before they entered the building at our front gate, this was another preventative measure to make sure we don’t have an outbreak in the shelter.
  • We limited our drop-in and meal service program to people who sleep at the emergency shelter only. We’ve been told there will be other meal programs established to address food insecurity, but we must reduce our shelter numbers in order to address social distancing.
  • We increased our cleaning schedule prioritizing high-risk areas
  • We closed non-essential programs and services to decrease the number of people in our buildings and repurpose staff to priority services
  • We canceled external volunteer programming for all opportunities, with the exception of medical volunteers which we are actively recruiting
  • We adjusted our donation program and have acquired C Can containers to quarantine donations for 14 days before they’re in circulation
  • We put hand-washing stations throughout the building thanks to a generous donation from Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC)
  • We created a designated observation wing for clients with suspected symptoms of COVID-19. Folks stayed here until medical professionals came in to make an assessment and determine the next steps.