Kath Hoffman, Safe Harbour executive director, stands outside the temporary warming shelter. City council approved 20 new mats for the warming shelter at Monday’s meeting. (Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate staff)

New temporary beds will immediately help Red Deer homeless

The 20 new temporary beds approved for Safe Harbour’s warming centre cannot come soon enough.

On the same night they were approved by Red Deer council, the shelter had to turn away six people from its mats program.

In November, staff had to turn people away 75 times. The newly-approved beds will go into the warming centre.

Executive director Kath Hoffman compared what they do for the homeless to a MASH unit, helping people in an emergency crisis situation and being that first step for them.

“We want to help whoever we can, however we can,” she said.

The new beds will be used when the main facility, which has 26 beds, is at at capacity. The warming centre is currently open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and with the addition of the new mats it would reopen at 8 p.m. to accommodate new clients. In the time being, staff will lay the mats at the former ATCO trailer.

Tuesday morning, about 20 or so people had come to the warming centre. Some slept in chairs pushed together, others slept with their face on a table.

Melissa Gouvreau, shift lead, walked around doing a head count and talking with clients. She estimated about five or six of the people there during the day would return for a mat that evening.

Throughout the day, she said she’ll see about 80 or so people come to the shelter.

“You can see a lot of yourself in them,” she said.

During the day, the warming centre provides more than just a place to get out of the cold. They try to connect people coming in with housing supports, meal support and in touch with mental health care workers through the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Hoffman is proud of the work her staff do every day to help those who need the service Safe Harbour provides.

“They have an ability to welcome and connect with clients and a genuine desire to do what they can for people,” said Hoffman. “It’s an extraordinary skill set.”



mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

About 50 AUPE members were protesting outside Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre early this morning. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: Health care workers strike at Red Deer hospital

Some surgeries and ambulatory care clinics postponed around the province

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Pumpkins for the 46th Annual WDACS Pumpkin Ball on display at Vision Credit Union Wetaskiwin. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
46th Annual Pumpkin Ball held virtually this year

This year the pumpkins were sold over a six-day online auction.

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre could be affected by cuts to Alberta Health Services announced by the government Tuesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
David Marsden: Yes, we know how to do laundry

Union leaders would have us believe there’s something special about their members:… Continue reading

Email letters to editor@interior-news.com
Removing Molly Banister extension makes no sense

Re: “Removing road extension would be ‘terrible,’ says former city manager,” Oct.… Continue reading

jj
NDP is certain to tire of propping up Trudeau’s Liberals

To impose his will on the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin… Continue reading

Mariah Bell of the United States competes during women’s freestyle program in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Canadian Keegan Messing earns bronze at Skate America in Vegas, Chen wins gold

Messing earns 266.42 points at Skate America in Las Vegas

In this Oct. 7, 2020 photo, chef Sohla El-Waylly prepares Swedish meatballs during a taping of “Stump Sohla,” in New York. El-Waylly became a familiar face on YouTube as a standout on Bon Appetit’s test kitchen channel. But during the nationwide racial reckoning following the police killing of George Floyd, she was among members of the test kitchen who accused the channel’s owner, Conde Nast, of discriminatory practices. She departed Bon Appetit in August after failed negotiations. Her new show is her own, pushing her to deploy her talent, charm and encyclopedic culinary chops to solve challenges. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
‘Babish’ expands as pandemic boosts YouTube cooking shows

Daily views of videos with “cook with me” soaring

Most Read