During this unprecedented time, HomeSpace has been supporting and collaborating with many local groups to quickly implement the safest and most appropriate solutions to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in our city. Shelters and temporary shelters are a part of the mix but for people with symptoms, self-isolation would not be possible in these settings.
We’re pleased to announce an Assisted Self-Isolation Site has been established to house vulnerable individuals in separate, private rooms who are symptomatic, test positive, or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The site uses available hotel space in Calgary to provide medical supports to vulnerable individuals in a safe, private, and secure environment to reduce the risk of the community spread of COVID-19.
With the lead of our longtime partners at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the operations team at HomeSpace have been working hard to rapidly activate the Assisted Self-Isolation Site. This process is a coordinated effort of the Government of Alberta Ministry of Community and Social Services; Alberta Health Services Calgary Region; the City of Calgary; the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA); emergency shelters and other agencies within Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, namely CUPS Calgary and The Alex Community Health Centre – all have been working exceptionally hard during these unprecedented times to render this site operational as soon as possible.
As HomeSpace moves forward with managing the facility, we’d like to highlight the many contractors who have answered the call to assist and have already been working around the clock, above and beyond, to prepare the facility and receive training on PPE equipment, safety procedures and facility workflow. These are the unsung heroes: Goodfellas Electric, Trommex Technical Services, Handyman For All Seasons, King’s Glass, Dalroy Controls, Airtech Services, Emergency Security Management (ESM), Spectra Light Window Films, ProStar Cleaning and Prime Knight Appliance. We thank everyone involved for their dedication to keeping Calgarians safe.
Who is involved in providing support within the Assisted Self-Isolation Site?
- Calgary Homeless Foundation: Project lead/Coordinating non-medical response
- HomeSpace Society: Management of facility and security
- Alberta Health Services, CUPS Calgary and The Alexandra Community Heath Centre: Provision
of medical and programmatic supports
How will people get there?
Individuals experiencing homelessness who appear to be symptomatic will be pre-screened and triaged by medical personnel as per Alberta Health guidelines at both hospital emergency departments and emergency shelters and will be transported to the Assisted Self-Isolations site as necessary.
How will need be determined?
Eligibility for assisted self-isolation spaces for individuals experiencing homelessness or with no fixed address will be determined based on the following:
- Have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and are actively ill with the virus; or
- Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting medical testing or the results of medical testing; or
- Are significantly ill (not related to COVID-19) and require a higher level of medical supervision than can be provided at the shelter at this time; or
- Have received a diagnosis of COVID-19 and are in a period of recovery, before transitioning to different accommodations
- Individuals who have been in close contact with confirmed positive cases and an exclusion order mandates isolation from the public for 14 days from date of exposure
How many units will be available?
Up to 100 units will be available for the self-isolation needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. This is an unprecedented project to safely coordinate, and discussions are underway on a next step to scale additional options where appropriate.
How will individuals requiring assisted self-isolation be supported within the site?
The Assisted Self-Isolation Site uses a scaled-up model taken from our existing, proven, supportive housing sites. This approach takes into account that the isolation unit shall be considered the client’s home for the entire length of isolation, quarantine, and treatment. In addition to the provision of security and food, staffing at the Isolation Site will include both health care professionals and case management workers.
What are the precautionary measures being taking within the Assisted Self-Isolation Site units to render them safe for guests/front-line?
All measures are being taken to ensure patient and staff safety, protect the integrity of the facility, and to diminish the potential spread of the virus. We have engaged in retrofitting the facility to make the location safe for workers, medical personnel, and individuals who are being transferred in.
Will individuals experiencing homelessness be able to stay in the Assisted Self-Isolation Site
Individuals who require self isolation will stay within the site for as long as required under the current Alberta Health Services and public health orders.
Where is the Assisted Self-Isolation Site located?
Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary have guided in the selection of an appropriate site. We are also following Alberta Health Services guidelines and best practices towards creating a medical response facility that is safe and secure for both the front-line workers and those who are isolated within the units, as well as taking steps to maintain the integrity of the building itself. In order to ensure that the response is orderly, coordinated, maintains privacy, and efficiently serves those most in need of this support, the location of the Isolation Centre will not be disclosed.
Why aren’t all people in shelter being moved into these units?
Why are some people being placed into the Telus Convention Centre and not hotels? At this time, for individuals who are not diagnosed with or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, local shelters have coordinated with the City of Calgary to open overflow centres to ensure that people can be sheltered while appropriate physical distancing is maintained. The designated Assisted Self-Isolation Site units are reserved for individuals who require self-isolation due to medical need.
Are the Isolation units available for those who are not symptomatic?
No. The designated Assisted Self-Isolation Site units are reserved for individuals who require self-isolation due to medical need.