April 24, 2020

Weekly Community Update Re: COVID-19

Greetings friends,

Everyone in our city is working hard to flatten the curve and prevent the worst case scenario. I’d like to acknowledge and thank all of our generous donors, our peers in the homeless-serving sector, our partners in the emergency response and health sectors, as well as all levels of government. More than ever, it’s clear that we are stronger together.

The DI continues to operate our three shelter sites and we are now in a good position to be addressing physical distancing in all our sleep AND day programs.

As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among clients nor staff.


Our Greatest Needs:

Landlords Wanted

We are urgently seeking landlords, property management agencies and other rental providers. We know that health and housing go hand-in-hand and the best option for people experiencing homelessness is their own home.

We are seeking affordable rentals in the $300-900 range. These are for folks whose only barrier to housing is financial.

If you or someone you know has a unit available, please email us at landlords@thedi.ca


Summary of What the DI Has Done to Date

*New* Week of April 24 Update:

  • We have put physical distancing measures in place throughout each shelter, including our dining areas at our main shelter.
  • We have increased capacity in our health services department by hiring 21 LPNs.
  • We continue to refine our processes for personal protective equipment and cleaning in all our buildings.
  • We have reversed 46 overdoses this month in our main shelter.
  • Since April 1, we have housed 15 people living in shelter and our housing specialists are working very hard with a goal to house 250 people in the next couple of months. In order to do this, we need affordable suites. If you or someone you know has a unit available, please email us at landlords@thedi.ca.

Week of April 17th Update:

  • 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 cancelled 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).
  • In March, we reversed 49 overdoses.

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 cancelled 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.