Drop-in shelter for homeless closing

Just as colder weather approaches, the only day drop-in shelter for the homeless and other street people in Red Deer has had to close its doors.

Just as colder weather approaches, the only day drop-in shelter for the homeless and other street people in Red Deer has had to close its doors.

Berachah Place, operated by a local business, shut down on Friday. When the shelter first opened, in 2005, a local church funded it. A few years ago, that ended.

Justin Hubert, who was involved from the beginning with Berachah Place, said Tuesday that his family business, Heritage Family Services, stepped in to continue the operation, out of good will.

The shelter operated in the basement of the Central Alberta Aids Network Society (4611 Gaetz Ave.), which rents the building from a company owned by the Hubert family. No rent was being charged for the Berachah Place program.

The facility provided a place for people to get warm, do laundry, shower, store belongings and have a snack.

“I absolutely believe it’s necessary. I absolutely wish I could keep doing it. I can’t. We don’t have the funding,” Hubert said.

“Our whole community needs to be on board because when one person tries to run one day shelter by themselves in Red Deer, it doesn’t work.”

One of the problems was continual staff changeovers, people Hubert described as “all great people”.

It also became apparent that for safety, they needed two staff.

This, combined with the fact they were getting nowhere with obtaining other funding, spelled the end, he said.

“Basically we just had one too many challenges,” said Hubert.

The hope was that Berachah Place could become a nonprofit operation, so they could obtain funding, and fundraise, he said.

Berachah Place first ran seven days a week — in the end, this summer it was down to three days a week.

He said he felt “horrible” about having to shut it down.

For the next little while Hubert said he is going to figure out when to set up times for homeless people to come and get things they have stored there. There are no plans for the vacant space, he said.

A lot of life for homeless people in Red Deer is spent just surviving in the elements, Hubert said, noting he’s seen the camps under bridges and in trees. In the day, like at night, it can be -40C as well, he said.

“We need a group of people … that can come around to the day shelter need that Red Deer has and engage the community of Red Deer on that. That’s what we need.”

There are night shelter programs in Red Deer for people in need.

Jennifer Vanderschaeghe, executive director of CAANS, said since Friday they are already seeing an impact of the closure of Berachah Place, such as traffic patterns at her office.

Berachah Place offered lunches (provided by outside groups with the proper cooking facilities). For the most part, soup kitchens and churches are focused on providing food at breakfast and supper, she said.

“The tricky part is you are out walking around all day. You can imagine how tiring that is. But also there’s a lot of people who really don’t want you to loiter around,” Vanderschaeghe said.

“It’s just a matter of time until it snows.”

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Cori Gauff of the United States reacts after missing a point against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their 3rd round match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Gauff won 7-5, 6-3. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Never count him out: Nadal rallies past Shapovalov in Rome

Never count him out: Nadal rallies past Shapovalov in Rome

Most Read