Calgary’s crisis centers to bolster treatment with new funding

Two main cogs in Calgary's crisis response will get a much needed cash infusion

Alex Community Health Centre CEO, Joy Bowen Eyre. DARREN KRAUSE / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Two Calgary non-profits are among more than 30 groups set to receive a substantial boost in cash after an announcement last week.

On Thursday, the city announced that roughly $16 million dollars would be provided to various agencies in Calgary to help provide better crisis response in the city. Roughly $8 million could come from the city’s Fiscal Stability Reserve. Another $8 million will be reallocated from the Calgary Police Service budget

“Through this we want to create a system that provides Calgarians experiencing a crisis with access to the most appropriate crisis response services when and where and how they need them,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at the time.

Two of those are familiar organizations that provide service to some of Calgary’s most vulnerable populations.

Alpha House – DOAP Team

One of the organizations that received a $1.8 million cut of this fund is the Alpha House. They’re a key part of making sure that those in the downtown Calgary area can get help when it comes to addiction and intoxication. Shaundra Bruvall with Alpha House said that the funds will help better prepare their Downtown Outreach Addictions Program (DOAP).  

“The DOAP team is a critical service in the city as it takes some burden away from the emergency services such as EMS and police services,” Bruvall said.

“We are really grateful to be able to be included in that funding and to have funding certainty in the next few years.”

With more resources given to crisis centers around Calgary, Bruvall believes that Alpha House can administer more appropriate aid.

“I think that emergency service responses can sometimes be counterproductive when responding to situations where vulnerable people are involved. Sometimes the criminal justice system is not necessary.”

The main program that will be funded through this will be Alpha House’s DOAP team.

“Some of the main functions of the team are to provide transportation to individuals on the streets and to provide connection to services like emergency shelters, housing programs and medical services,” Bruvall said.

Implementation plan

Joy Bowen-Eyre, CEO of the Alex Health center works closely with the CPS and said that they have very thoroughly planned the implementation of this fund and will ensure that it is used to its full potential.

“We work very closely in partnership with the CPS and our team members have the skills to de-escalate folks who are in distress or in a crisis,”Bowen-Erye said.

“Our help really goes to the right person at the right time for the right reason.”

Bowen-Eyre said that with the extra funds provided that her team at the Alex can better execute on their mission to provide aid.

“Our whole goal is to meet you and to start a conversation and to get a relationship established,” she said.

“Then connect you back to our main site with all of the rest of the resources to help you be successful in your community.” 

If you are someone who is struggling with addiction or mental health concerns the links to both the Alpha House and the Alex Center are listed below.

Alpha House

Alex Center

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