Alberta’s homeless are among the province’s most vulnerable, especially during a pandemic.
The Province of Alberta has issued a release detailing the actions that are being taken to help the province’s homeless population amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The release notes that, as of March 23, there have been no cases of coronavirus reported at homeless shelters in Alberta, though steps are still being taken to lessen the impact of a potential outbreak.
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“Our number one priority is to ensure the health and safety of all Albertans,” said Premier Jason Kenney in the release.
“I am thankful our homeless-serving agencies are there to help protect our most vulnerable populations. We will continue to support them throughout this challenging time.”
The provincial government has pledged $25 million towards supporting homeless-serving agencies throughout Alberta.
Edmonton will see the EXPO Centre activated as an isolation and care centre, and both Hope Mission and Mustard Seed will be adding additional capacity to meet physical distancing guidelines.
Calgary will harness hotel rooms for isolation and care, and Alpha House, the Calgary Drop-In Centre, The Mustard Seed, and Inn From The Cold will all be activating additional space.
Red Deer’s Safe Harbour Society has relocated, adding 100 additional spaces, and the possibility of additional capacity for Lethbridge, Red Deer, and Grande Prairie is being confirmed, according to the release.
No additional facilities are being activated in Fort McMurray and Medicine Hat, as both municipalities already have adequate space to abide by physical distancing guidelines.
“Our government is taking COVID-19 seriously and we will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of all Albertans,” said Alberta’s Minister of Community and Social Services, Rajan Sawhney, in the release.
“We are working quickly to help municipalities and homeless-serving agencies respond to this pandemic to protect the health and safety of vulnerable Albertans and staff.”