Melissa Gauvreau, shift lead at the Warming Centre, cleans tables at the centre in preparation for Wednesday’s opening. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

Safe Harbour helps people escape the cold

Red Deer agency providing the first step in addictions treatment

Safe Harbour Society’s Warming Centre has seen an average of 60 people needing somewhere to go during the day as temperatures remain dangerously cold.

The seasonal centre operates daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in two shipping containers at 5256 53rd Ave. in Safe Harbour’s parking lot. Since earlier this month the centre has also been able to reopen at 8 p.m. to add 20 more spaces to the society’s mat program so more people who are intoxicated or high have a place to sleep this winter.

Executive director Kath Hoffman said so far the centre has only needed to be open overnight a few times.

“We’ve got lots of room for anyone who needs it. Typically numbers go down a little bit when it’s this cold. That’s usually the result of people letting people stay in their homes longer because it’s so cold. Also with Christmas our numbers go down,” Hoffman said.

She said providing an escape from the cold is part of the continuum of care for those with addictions.

“Everybody talks about the need for treatment but they don’t see that these emergency services are part of that treatment scope. These are just those critical first steps.

“Just like safe consumption sites, it’s like an emergency treatment response. It’s connecting them to those health resources.”

She said the public may not see it at treatment, but for those suffering from addiction, in their world, it is treatment.

Hoffman said staff are seeing a lot of new faces.

“That’s the result of the opioid crisis we’re in. The majority of the people that are new are on average between 25 and 35 years old. They’re not necessarily new to Red Deer, they’re new to the harbour.”

If people want to help, donations of gloves would be appreciated. Gloves are preferred to bulky mitts so people don’t have to take them off when they need to use their hands outside. Snacks that can be eaten on the go would also be welcome, she said.

“We’re desperate for gloves. We’ve got lots of everything else, but we need gloves.”

Donations can be dropped off at Safe Harbour’s main office between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Safe Harbour Society

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

Just Posted

Central Alberta woman receives North American award for leading Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

Manon Therriault at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has always embraced… Continue reading

Families displaced after Red Deer fire Sunday

A structure fire displaced two families in north Red Deer Sunday morning.… Continue reading

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 27

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

WE Charity controversy prompts examination of group’s overseas footprint

On Sept. 9, WE Charity said it would wind down its Canadian operations

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Nearly 1M who died of COVID-19 also illuminated treatment

The nearly 1 million people around the world who have lost their… Continue reading

Toronto health officer closes 3 restaurants as result of COVID contact tracing

Toronto’s top public health official has ordered the closure of three downtown… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

CALGARY — Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins… Continue reading

Tenille Townes, Dean Brody and Brett Kissel top nominees at tonight’s CCMA Awards

OTTAWA — Tenille Townes could be lined up for some major wins… Continue reading

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

TERRACE, B.C. — Health care in the era of COVID-19 took centre… Continue reading

Watchdog to investigate fatal Winnipeg crash that sent two kids to hospital

Winnipeg police say a woman has died and five others — including… Continue reading

The ‘relentless underdog’: Green Leader Sonia Furstenau ready for uphill battle

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau was driving Monday when she turned on the… Continue reading

Mi’kmaq power, inside and beyond Ottawa, stronger than in past fishery battles

HALIFAX — When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news… Continue reading

Most Read