As the City of Lethbridge continues to manage the local response to COVID-19, resources are being put in place to help the city's homeless population, including new spaces for social distancing and self-isolation.
Over the next few days, the Fritz Sick gymnasium will transition into a temporary homeless shelter. This facility will provide more square footage than the current homeless shelter located at 802 – 2 Ave N. This move will provide individuals with the space needed to follow Alberta Health's recommended social distancing guidelines.
In addition, a block of rooms has been secured at a local motel as a self-isolation unit for the homeless population. Clients who fail the COVID-19 screening protocols established by Alberta Health Services will be housed in this location until they are symptom free.
The Fritz Sick shelter location will operate the same as any other homeless shelter with the appropriate staff, resources and services available to support those in need.
Individuals at the self-isolation facility will be supported by health and social services professionals and on-site security to ensure the health and safety of all residents.
When the Fritz Sick shelter is operational, the current shelter will be used as an intox (safe sobering) facility. This change will triple the community's capacity to provide safe sobering services.
All agencies working with the homeless population are continually screening their clients for COVID-19 so they can be sent to the most appropriate housing location.
Anyone who has tested negative for COVID-19 and is homeless, is being considered for rapid housing. This new strategy is expediting housing placements and case management for these at-risk individuals. Having safe housing where individuals can practice physical distancing is a priority.
Throughout the COVID-19 response, the Emergency Social Services branch of the City's Emergency Coordination Centre have been working tirelessly to coordinate local resources in the areas of food security, transportation, parenting, mental health, social inclusion, vulnerable populations, safety and health.
For more information on local supports visit www.lethbridge.ca/covidsupport.
For Public Inquiries:
Call 311 | Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.