April 17, 2020

Weekly Community Update Re: COVID-19

Greetings friends,

The DI has been hard at work with our three shelter sites and we are now in a good position to be addressing physical distancing in all our sleep programs. As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among clients nor staff.

As we continue to successfully prevent an outbreak in our spaces, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and flexibility of our entire city’s front-line workers and leaders. The DI has seen a tremendous amount of support from the community. From collaboration, new partnerships, and countless individual donations, we know we are not alone in this.

Our Current Needs:
Summary of What the DI Has Done to Date

*NEW* Week of April 17th Update:

  • In March, we reversed 49 overdoses and in April, we have already reversed 29 overdoses in the first 2-weeks in our main shelter building.
  • We have changed how we operate each floor in our main shelter to decrease the amount of travel taking place throughout the building and address physical distancing.
  • Temperature checks and hand-washing became mandatory for all visitors entering our building.
  • We have changed the curfew to 9 p.m. at Calgary TELUS Convention Centre.
  • We have picked up where we left off on our housing strategy, and we are actively seeking landlords to partner with for clients whose barrier to housing is financial. We hope that all clients in our satellite shelters never have to return to our main shelter, because they’ll have their very own home by then.

Week of April 9th Update:

  • We assisted nearly 200 people move to the TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC).
  • The TELUS Convention Centre is a satellite shelter for assigned DI clients only – it is not a drop-in shelter.
    • Meals, bathrooms, showers and coffee are available.
    • The curfew is 9 p.m. and there’s designated smoking areas 24/7.
  • Through the generous support of our community partner CUPS, we welcomed a lead physician who will be supporting health services at the DI.
  • With gratitude, we congratulated the Calgary Homeless Foundation, The Alex, and CUPS with the opening of the city’s assisted self-isolation site for the homeless population and have developed processes to support our clients who may require access to these spaces.
  • We canceled our Kindness Open fundraiser, previously scheduled for mid-June.

Week of April 2nd Update:

  • We partnered with Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) for our second satellite shelter funded by the Government of Alberta. This 24/7 space will shelter up to 300 men (no women) and will allow us to reduce our main shelter capacity by 50%.
  • We launched our Medical Volunteer opportunity on our website.
  • We made it mandatory that all clients and staff wash their hands or use hand sanitizer each time they enter any DI operated building (i.e. main shelter, 2507, TELUS Convention Centre, donation centre, Sundial, Greenview Rise, and Bridgeland Manor).

Week of March 26th Update:

  • We opened our 24/7 satellite shelter for 56 people.
  • We began screening clients for symptoms before they enter the building at our front gate, this is another preventative measure to make sure we don’t have an outbreak in the shelter. This is why our gate is currently closed.
  • We gained the support of Safeworks, CUPS, Alberta Health Services and several volunteer medical professionals. (Thank you!)
  • We limited our drop-in and meal service program to people who sleep at the emergency shelter only.
  • We changed our overdose and emergency response protocol to prohibit the use of bagged valves, rescue breaths, chest compressions and other high-contact CPR actions. Staff are to put on PPE, administer Naloxone and call 911.
  • We hired more than 60 staff in various departments, and we continue to recruit.

Week of March 20th Update:

  • We increased our cleaning schedule prioritizing high-risk areas.
  • We closed non-essential programs and services to decrease the amount of people in our buildings and repurpose staff to priority services.
  • We canceled external volunteer programming for all opportunities.
  • We adjusted our donation program and acquired C Can containers to quarantine donations before they’re in circulation.
  • We put hand-washing stations throughout the building thanks to a generous donation from Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).
  • We designated an observation wing on 4thfloor for current clients with suspected symptoms of COVID-19, they wait in this space until their tests results come back.