Red Deer’s warming centre open for the season

Donations of mitts needed

Each day about 50 people visit Safe Harbour’s warming centre to get out of the increasingly cold weather.

Tricia Haggarty-Roberts, Safe Harbour director of operations, said unfortunately staff do not have good quality mitts to hand out to clients when they leave. Donations would be greatly appreciated.

“We have people who lose appendages every year, fingers and toes,” said Haggarty-Roberts on Wednesday.

“We have lots of socks. We do not have mitts.”

She said staff recently picked up 30 pairs of gloves from Bibles for Missions.

“I guarantee they’ll be gone by Friday. It won’t take long.”

The downtown warming centre, made up of three connected trailers, opened for the season on Nov. 1. and operates seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Red Deer’s homeless.

A computer from Alberta Works is available to clients to search and apply for jobs and keep in contact with friends and family. Counsellors can also be brought in from Alberta Health Services, as well as members of the co-ordinated entry team to help connect clients to housing.

Tyrel Jackson, 29, said the warming centre is a nice place to hang out and get a coffee, use the phone or computer, and of course get out of the cold.

“Sometimes there’s nowhere else to go,” Jackson said with a coffee cup in hand.

He said staff are helpful.

“They’ve got a pretty good grasp on all the resources around here.”

Jackson said he’s trying to improve his circumstances, but it’s a slow process from where he’s at right now.

“It just takes time.”

Jackson said he only started using the centre this season and hoped others who need it are made aware that it’s available.

The centre is located in Safe Harbour’s parking lot, at 5246 53rd Ave.

Haggarty-Roberts said at 50 clients a day, the number of visitors started out slow this season.

Donations of granola bars or fresh fruit would also be welcome. Clients rarely have access to fresh fruit, she said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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