Outreach teams help homeless during deep freeze
The deep freeze hitting Edmonton has put the focus on those who are sleeping outdoors in the river valley.
The street outreach team from Boyle Street Services is combing through the brush looking for camps.
“We go out and actively search for people that are living outside all year ‘round and aren't accessing services or supports,” said Aidan Inglis.
“And we try to engage with them and build relationships with them and make sure they're safe and see how we can better meet their needs.”
The team distributes winter gear like gloves and blankets to the people they find, while trying to gain their trust.
Inglis says the team is finding higher numbers of people this year with many new to living outdoors.
“It means that they aren’t prepared and they don't necessarily know how to survive,” he said.
Boyle Street Services also operates a winter emergency bus that drives around the city, giving homeless people a warm place to get out of the cold and have a small meal.
“The food is why I'm here today and a nice comfortable environment to relax in,” said Eric Giroux.
“You'll die on the streets if you don't stop moving,” Josh Manchester said. “You go and lay somewhere where you don't got heat or nothing. You’re gonna die. You'll freeze up.”
Boyle Street needs the public’s help in order to keep offering these services. Donations of winter clothing and gear are welcome.