Safe Harbour Society’s Warming Centre (File photo by Advocate staff)

Safe Harbour Society’s Warming Centre (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer warming centre gets busier in cold weather

Donations for gloves and winter clothing wanted

More people are seeking overnight shelter at Safe Harbour Society’s warming centre as temperatures drop.

Shelter services manager Colleen Markus said between 15 and 20 people each night are sleeping at the warming centre that has 20 mats available for those with no place to go.

“We’re seeing those numbers creeping up. I think we’ve seen a lot of new faces. Last year, we were seeing on average four to eight in that shelter,” Markus said.

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The mat program, which has 26 mats for those who are intoxicated or high, is also usually full, she said.

Markus said about 130 people use the warming centre every day. That number hasn’t really changed since summer.

“But what’s happening now as it gets colder, is people are staying in the warming centre longer. Instead of going in and out like they do in the summer, they stay in the shelter. So it’s a much busier and fuller place.”

She said donations of gloves would really be appreciated.

“It’s very disheartening to say we don’t have gloves. We are desperate for gloves.”

Warm winter clothing, such as sweaters, jackets and boots, would also be welcome, Markus said.

In March, the provincial NDP government promised Red Deer $7 million for a 120-bed, 24-hour shelter for homeless and addicted people. But last week, a new homeless shelter for Red Deer was left out of the United Conservative Party’s budget.

Mayor Tara Veer said that the government minister in charge of shelters indicated a need to work with the City of Red Deer to come up with a detailed business plan, including the size of the shelter that’s needed, in the next few weeks.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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