A few targeted C-Train stations will be closed at night during frigid cold snaps to provide shelter for Calgary’s homeless population.
Starting on Monday, Southland, Heritage and Anderson C-train stations will be closed to the public from 10 p.m. until the start of service the following day. However, LRT platforms to access trains and transit services will still be available to the public.
This comes as cold temperatures — including extreme cold warnings — hit the city throughout the month of December.
“Calgarians who are unhoused and in positions of vulnerability need safe spaces for shelter, and all Calgarians need to feel safe on our transit system,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek in a news release.
“This multi-agency, coordinated approach will provide the highest and best outcomes for all Calgarians. I am grateful to our partners who are working together with each other and the City of Calgary under very challenging circumstances.”
Last month, city council approved a one-time investment of $750,000 for the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) to coordinate a community cold weather response.
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The stations don’t have basic amenities such as washrooms or regular temperature control throughout the night and are typically not designed to be used as shelters. However, according to the news release, roughly 170 people per night, have sought out C-Train stations during the first week of January for shelter.
In collaboration with CHF, Calgary Transit officers will conduct visits to the four stations. The news release states both will work together with outreach service providers to provide those who have been staying in C-Train stations transportation to shelters and connections to additional community resources.
“Shelters have capacity to accommodate those in Calgary experiencing homelessness,” Sandra Clarkson, executive director, Calgary Drop-In Centre said.
“Shelters offer not just a warm place to sleep at night but additional supports including, food, washrooms, showers, health care, mental health and addiction support, with the goal to transition to long-term housing. We are here to help.”
Safety and security manager with Calgary Transit, Sam Hope added the city will be taking steps to ensure the C-train stations are safe for everyone to access.
As a reminder, if you see someone who needs help you can call the Downtown Outreach Addiction Partnership (DOAP) Team at 403-998-7388 or the City of Calgary at 211. Though, if someone is in serious distress or non-responsive, call 911.
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