Calgary homeless advocates and those who serve the city’s vulnerable population are concerned about the effects of staying outside in -20 C weather.
With weather getting numbingly cold in Calgary, homeless advocates and those who serve the city’s vulnerable population are concerned about the effects of staying outside in minus-20 C weather.
“As soon as those temperatures drop, especially the sub -10, -15 temperatures start to set in, just being stationary for a few minutes and not having the blood circulating can lead to frostbite in minutes,” Drop-In Centre program supervisor Chris Kavanagh said. “It can lead to massive problems, including amputations and some very serious infections.”
Kavanagh recalls seeing one man whose time on the streets in cold weather led to a number of consequences.
“It was an image that’s probably going to stick in my mind forever,” he said.
“There was one gentleman who had had a number of his toes amputated and was in real serious pain and constantly being monitored for infection. And it’s something that’s really impactful on our staff because it will affect the quality of this person’s life forever.”
Daily low temperatures are forecast to dip below -20 all week. Friday’s mercury is forecast to hit -25 C. With wind chill, conditions could feel even colder.
“We are anticipating a need, especially for winter clothing, unlike we have ever seen before, because we do have a lot of refugees and newcomers who are struggling and will be experiencing their very first winter here. And the demand for our clothing program has exploded over the last several months,” Kavanagh said.
The Drop-In isn’t the only organization in the city trying to get cold weather gear to those in need.