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Outcomes of the DI’s Housing and Resource Day

February 17, 2022

Last week, the Calgary Drop-In Centre (the DI) played a role in Operation East Side, an operation led by Calgary Police Services and Bylaw Services. While this was taking place, we ran a Housing and Resource Day to ensure that the vulnerable population affected had the care and support they needed, and the results have shown that this was overall quite a success.

As always, our main focus was providing essential services with kindness and dignity, and thanks to that dedicated effort, we were able to provide a total of 97 services for 36 unique individuals who had previously been staying on Dermot Baldwin Way, five of whom had never before accessed the DI. Those 97 services were varied between housing needs, health services, and other wraparound supports, and we’re excited to share what we were able to accomplish.

21 individuals had their housing plans either started or furthered, which ranges from totally beginning the housing process to viewing and submitting applications for apartments across the city. Furthermore, 16 individuals were able to access the medical services they needed, including seven receiving treatment for wound care as well as six doses of the COVID-19 vaccination being delivered. We know that there are financial and logistical barriers to housing as well, and we were thrilled to help eight people attain their proper identification and help seven people complete their income taxes. As a real bright spot of the day, we were able to assist with two separate family reunifications, and those have now been reunited with their families in Ontario and British Columbia respectively.

We also know that the DI is not always the best fit for everyone, and to that end, we are grateful for the community supports we were able to utilize during Housing and Resource Day. We were able to refer six different people to the resources best suited to them, whether that was a more appropriate shelter, mental health outreach services, or detox.

It is important to acknowledge that these successes are a testament to the power of collaboration. Operation East Side was a City of Calgary operation that was spearheaded by Calgary Police Services and Bylaw Services, with lots of support from groups like Calgary Fire Department, The Alex, and Alpha House, including their DOAP and Encampment teams, and the Calgary Homeless Foundation. While much of the focus has been paid to the actions on Dermot Baldwin Way, we never want to lose sight of the impact on vulnerable people. Our agency played a major part in the success of last week, with the support of those partners. This is proof that while every encampment and person is unique, by and large an intensive, coordinated service strategy with open communication, a problem-solving attitude, and a heavy dollop of compassion gets positive results.

There is still much work ahead until everyone can find their way home, and we are looking forward to that challenge. As we say at the DI, it takes a community to build community. With the efforts of our community on display, there is no challenge we cannot overcome in time.

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