Calgary city council approved $750,000 of emergency funding Monday to help people experiencing homelessness.
Last week, the city’s community development committee recommended the money be given to the Calgary Homeless Foundation to help outreach workers and others provide support to people on the streets.
But the the committee did not recommend setting aside money for emergency warming shelters at C-Train stations, something Chaz Smith, president, CEO, and founder of BeTheChangeYYC, went to the city council budget meeting on Nov. 22 to ask for.
Smith told council how the night before, he and his team went walking around the city to help people in need and to count how many there were.
Of the 88 people they spoke to, roughly 65 were planning to sleep outside that night, Smith said.
Smith proposed that the city open emergency warming centres in LRT stations when the temperature drops below -10. Such a move would help reduce hospital intake numbers, especially from frostbite.
“[Calgary has] 23 per cent higher frostbite admission than Edmonton,” said Smith.
Council heard last month from Carol Armes, a member of the City of Calgary Advisory Committee on Accessibility, who described how the cold weather and snow make the city harder to navigate, in terms of accessibility. She hopes council members can take an empathetic approach to the issue.
“Many people with disabilities are afraid to go outside during the winter,” Armes said. “How would you maneuver this if you were in a wheelchair?”