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Warming stations provide support in Canadian winter

Salvation Army teams in Calgary, Canada, operate mobile winter warming stations to help meet the needs of people living on the streets.

For many years, The Salvation Army in Calgary, Alberta, has hosted warming stations for people living on the street during winter. This (northern) season, the stations became mobile, allowing them to be moved around the city for better accessibility. A collaboration with the Calgary Homeless Foundation made this possible.

“We are now able to go where there is a need, as opposed to having folks to come to us for support,” said Hooria Ansari, Resource Specialist for the outreach program at The Salvation Army in Calgary. Hooria believes the innovative warming stations also allow workers to reach more clients in need.

The mobile warming stations are set up in high-need areas around the city. Inside the tents there are heaters, and clients are provided with hot meals, coffee, and even winter gear. The temporary shelters also allow the outreach program to connect with new clients and assess further need for support.

“We do our best to support our friends with a warm meal and with materials that come in through donations such as gloves, toques (beanies) and jackets,” said Hooria. “These are high-need and in-demand items for our clients. A lot of the people we meet are not well equipped for winter conditions.”

So far, the stations have been a success. They have been well received by the community and the clients that make use of them. “Often, we hear from some of our repeat clients that as soon as they see The Salvation Army shield, they immediately recognise that it is a warming station and that here they will be taken care of,” Hooria said.

The mobile warming stations currently run Monday to Friday from 11am to 7pm. The goal is to soon be running seven days a week. The stations will be in place until the end of March 2023.

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