March 23, 2020
In response to the public health need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Edmonton, Community and Social Services, Alberta Health Services, Homeward Trust and community partners are working together to create a safe space at the Edmonton EXPO Centre for community members experiencing homelessness. This joint response aims to best meet the needs of vulnerable populations as the COVID-19 situation intensifies.
The Edmonton EXPO Centre will have two purposes. One portion of the facility will provide day drop-in service from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., 7 days a week, for those without access to housing. This drop-in will operate within a large enough space to allow for social distancing. This additional space at the Edmonton EXPO Centre helps provide overflow support for facilities that have had to limit their capacity, change hours of operation or close entirely. Homeward Trust is working with the Bissell Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, and several other organizations to operate the drop-in.
The Edmonton EXPO Centre is not currently operating as an overnight shelter for individuals who do not require health services related to COVID-19. The overnight shelters in the city that are already in place will continue to operate and accept those individuals who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 and do not require isolation.
A separate portion of the Edmonton EXPO Centre will be used as a 24/7 isolation shelter. This area will allow those experiencing homelessness who have been exposed to COVID-19, or have symptoms, to recover and protect others by self-isolating. The Boyle McCauley Health Centre is taking the lead on the site with regards to primary medical care. Alberta Health Services will supplement this support with any additional health services including home care, public health, addiction and mental health, infection control and environmental public health support for the site and temporary residents.
The first phase of operations, the isolation centre, will open in the evening on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Some funding has been provided by the Government of Alberta.
The EXPO Centre will welcome:
- Any person who is homeless and currently using shelters and is not exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms for day drop-in service from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., 7 days a week, beginning March 24.
- Any person who is homeless and currently using shelters and who is exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms at the isolation shelter.
The EXPO Centre is:
- Not open to the general public for regular day programming and other events
- Not open to the general public for medical care, COVID-19 testing or any other health matter
- Not open to the media, to provide the protection and privacy that everyone deserves
- Not for children or pets (alternative arrangements will be made for homeless families with children needing to self isolate)
We invite those who are interested in offering donations to visit the website of one of our local homeless serving agencies to learn how you can best assist at this time. Please note that some agencies are adjusting their donation policies in light of COVID-19.