News & Stories

< BACK TO NEWS AND STORIES

COVID-19 Response – As of November 27

November 27, 2020

On November 5, we learned of a new case of COVID-19 at our main shelter and we are now in outbreak status.

As cases continue to rise in Calgary, the Calgary Drop-In Centre (the DI) is also seeing a spike in cases too.

As of November 27 at 5 pm, the Calgary Drop-In Centre’s outbreak consists of 41 active cases among clients and eight active cases among staff. Those with positive results are in isolation as they recover. We work in close partnership with The Alex who is operating the Assisted Self Isolation Site for our client population.

Important to note is that 65 clients and six staff have recovered. There have been a total of 95 cases in our client population and 14 cases among staff during this outbreak.

Since March, the DI has been on the front-line 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 600 on-site tests
  • Installing barriers in select sleeping quarters
  • Increasing our housing efforts, finding homes for more than 300 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.

Here is a recap of our response to date:

November 2020

  • On November 5, a new case was identified at our main shelter. We continue to see a spike in cases.
  • As per Public Health, our entire main building and our satellite shelter, 2507 are in outbreak status.
  • 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.