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Alpha House receives a DOAP new ride thanks to a GoFundMe drive

Calgary Alpha House Society got a new set of wheels for their Downtown Outreach Addiction Partnership (DOAP) team thanks to a local fundraiser. 

Lena Elliot, with the help of community members, organized a GoFundMe page on July 9, to raise enough money to buy a used van for the DOAP team.

The DOAP team started back in 2005 as a mobile response to street level intoxication. 

The team, which works closely with Calgary Police Services and Emergency Medical Services, responds to calls around the city and works to provide shelter and addiction care for those who need it. 

In 2019, the DOAP team provided care to more than 3,600 people. 

DOAP funding has been cut in the past

The GoFundMe page explains why a new van is essential in helping vulnerable Calgarians.

“Without a working van, they cannot perform the crucial work of getting people the help they need. Whether it is administering Naloxone to slow/stop an overdose, providing a safe bed to sleep in or long-term support, the DOAP team needs a functional, reliable vehicle to do their crucial work,” the post read. 

In October of 2019 the Calgary Homeless Foundation took an eight per cent cut in provincial funding. That left the DOAP program budget in a $20,000 shortfall.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in October of 2019 that the province needs to take responsibility for the costs. 

“But it’s also a service that’s a provincial responsibility and the City of Calgary vastly over-contributes financially to this,” he was quoted in a Global Calgary piece.

City councillor believes in DOAP

In November’s budget deliberations, Coun. Jeromy Farkas introduced a motion to get more funding for the team. 

“The DOAP team does incredible work that’s designed to support emergency services, such as police officers and emergency medical services,” Farkas said in council.

“I think that this is the kind of priority that we should be focusing on right now. Also bear in mind that this is not the complete amount that they need but allows for some leverage and does not put as much of a potential burden on the police.”

After a city council vote, the outreach program was given a $200,000 boost. Money was taken from the investigation into safe speeds in Calgary neighbourhoods.

In this fundraising case, Alpha House said they weren’t involved in the effort. They’re grateful for the hard work and donations.

Shaundra Bruvall, Communications and Fundraising Coordinator at Alpha House said they count on these type of donations.

“Generous donations like these from the community, along with support from the City of Calgary and Calgary Homeless Foundation have ensured the DOAP team will continue operating as normal for the next year,” she said. 

Bruvall said the new van was delivered Tuesday and will hit the streets in the next week or so. 

According to Elliot, the GoFundMe page raised a total of $8,072. 

She said a new van was purchased for $5,000 and the remaining $3,072 was donated to the Calgary Black Empowerment Fund.