News & Events

Alpha House Outreach Programs in High Demand

Shaundra Bruvall | May 14, 2019

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We finally have some warmer weather on our hands and that means a number of different things. With snow no longer in the forecast and no longer on the ground, re-exposure of the land means you might notice needles or other debris on your commute to work, school or on your way home. If you spot a needle on either private or public property, don’t hesitate to give our Needle Response Team (NRT) a call. Operating five days a week from 8 AM – 6PM, the NRT is trained to properly dispose of needles 403. 796.5334.

Another thing you might notice as the weather continues to warm up is an assortment of “rough sleepers” – this is a term used to describe individuals who are camping or sleeping outdoors in public areas. Alpha House’s Encampment Team are a mobile response unit that connects with individuals who are “camping” or “sleeping rough” outside, with the goal of helping individuals secure housing, visit the doctor, get to a shelter, or anything else they might need. If you notice a camp, we encourage you to call the Encampment Team at 403.805.7388.

The warm weather also creates the potential for overheating, dehydration, and sunburn. If you see someone on the street who may be in distress, please get in touch with our DOAP (Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership) team at 403.998.7388. Should someone be in need of immediate assistance, please call 911.


International Harm Reduction Day 2019

Shaundra Bruvall | May 7, 2019

This is the 6th International Harm Reduction day and it has got us thinking about the principles of harm reduction. Alpha House supports a harm reduction approach in all of its programs. We know  every individual has their own journey and should be treated with support and dignity while they navigate that path.

There is some great discourse happening lately on harm reduction,  addiction and mental health. We want this discourse to continue in Canada and around the world. By continuing to learn, collaborate, and educate others, we can continue to provide hope to individuals caught in a cycle of addiction. Last month, Policy Options shared a great article on the need for greater resources and investment in health care that we thought we’d highlight today.

“”I’ve met thousands of people with substance addiction and I’ve never met any for whom this was their life plan,” says Dr. John Weekes, director of research and academics at the Waypoint Research Institute in Penetanguishene, Ontario.” (Cordy, Gagne, 2019)

We have been fortunate in Alberta to have non-profit agencies and local government that have made harm reduction a principle of their work, but there is more work to be done still. Research continues to show the factors that fuel, and put individuals at risk of, addiction.

“Dr. Sheri Fandrey clinical assistant professor at the University of Manitoba said it well, “We don’t have an opioid crisis or a methamphetamine crisis. We have a trauma crisis; a housing crisis; a poverty crisis; a stigma crisis.”” (Cordy, Gagne, 2019).

Read “Opioid crisis needs more attention and investment: https://bit.ly/2IYe0Jy


Alpha House Partnership with Calgary Transit Continues!

Shaundra Bruvall | April 26, 2019

The two members of the DOAP Transit team, April 24, 2019.

We are so excited to be continuing our partnership with Calgary Transit to bring the Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) team to city transit, providing a new avenue for vulnerable individuals to connect with addiction services and other social supports.

Alpha House started the pilot for the DOAP Transit program alongside Calgary Transit in September 2018. Funded by the City of Calgary’s Crime Prevention Investment Plan, the Community Outreach Team consists of a Calgary Transit Peace Officer and one of Alpha House’s DOAP team members.

In the 6 months since its creation, the program has had 667 interactions with individuals on city transit. These interactions have led to over 200 welfare checks, 148 case management portfolios, 124 transports, 43 referrals to other community outreach programs, and 16 hospital visits.

“The Calgary Alpha House Society and Calgary Transit partnership has enriched our ability to bring the appropriate support to vulnerable Calgarians while improving safety and facilitating access to services individuals require.” Kathy Christiansen, Executive Director, Alpha House. “We look forward to continuing the collaboration and building on the great work that has already been achieved.”

If CTrain riders see someone who may need assistance, they are encouraged to use a Calgary Transit Help Phone or dial 403-262-1000 (option 1). If an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For more information about the DOAP Transit team, along with Alpha House’s other Outreach programs, visit https://alphahousecalgary.com/services/outreach/.

You can check out more media coverage detailing the program extension below:

Calgary Transit DOAP program a success, will be extended through 2019: city
April 24, 2019 | Heide Pearson, Global News

Calgary Transit and Alpha House will continue partnering to help vulnerable Calgarians

April 24, 2019 | Dave Dormer, CTV News

Calgary Transit teams with Alpha House to help vulnerable

April 24, 2019 | Dean Pilling, Calgary Herald

Calgary outreach program building connections with most vulnerable

April 24, 2019 | Kass Patterson, 660 News


Alpha House FUNDrive with Value Village

Shaundra Bruvall | October 6, 2017

We have teamed up with Value Village for a FUNDrive in October and need donations of gently-used clothing and household items to help us raise funds for much needed winter items and to increase our client fund.

Items will be received for the entire month of October 2017 at Calgary Alpha House Society – 203 15th Ave SE. We will gladly accept donations for our FUNDrive from 7am to 7pm; please come to our front door on 15 Ave SE and our staff will be happy to assist you. If you have a large amount of goods to donate, please call ahead so that we can be ready when you arrive, 403-234-7388 ext# 1.

Our goal is to raise $1000 in funds by collecting 400 bags of clothing. Our partnership with Value Village will help us to gain access to clothing all year round through the Get to Give Program.

Acceptable donations include clean clothing, shoes, accessories, books, CDs, DVDs, linens and working small household items the size of a microwave or smaller (no furniture please).

Calgary Alpha House Society is holding the FUNDrive in partnership with Value Village; a global thrift organization. Items collected during the drive will be sold to local Value Village stores and we will receive funds towards goods we need for our clients.

 

 

 


Chrissysentme – Thank You

Shaundra Bruvall | June 22, 2017

 “May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and, above all, may silence make you strong.” – Native American Proverb

This has been a very sad time at Alpha House as we’ve mourned the loss of our dear colleague and friend, Chrissy Archibald. And yet in our sadness, we’ve also celebrated Chrissy’s incredible spirit of compassion, her kindness, and her ability to connect with people of all walks of life and offer them hope.

In these difficult days, we’ve also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community, both here in Calgary and from around the world.  The #ChrissySentMe movement — that evolved from a statement started by her family— became a venue to honour her life’s passion. It touches us at Alpha House and extends to other organizations serving marginalized people across Canada and throughout the globe.

Thank you to all the individuals and organizations who shared words of encouragement, sent flowers, volunteered or made a donation in honour of Chrissy. Your kind gestures show that love always wins. To our clients, who paid tribute to Chrissy’s impact and touch on their lives, thank you for sharing your memories and encouraging us as we grieve. To the media who told Chrissy’s story with sensitivity, thank you for understanding how difficult those early hours and days were as we tried to make sense of this tragedy.

And finally, to Chrissy’s family, we are so deeply sorry for your unimaginable loss. We will continue to find ways to honour Chrissy in our work here at Alpha House, and we feel her spirit with us. She will be remembered always.

Sincerely,

Kathy Christiansen

Executive Director, Alpha House


Walk A Mile In Our Moccasins

Shaundra Bruvall | June 16, 2017

Walk a Mile in Our Moccasins

In celebration of Aboriginal Awareness Week, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary and Calgary Alpha House are joining together to support reconciliation and awareness through an event that will teach the tradition of moccasin making. Come walk a mile in our moccasins, and learn the tradition of moccasin making through community connection and cultural teachings.

Indigenous moccasins were a nearly universal element from tribe to tribe, with distinctive features and subtle patterns among the various tribes. Indigenous people could often tell each other’s tribal affiliation simply from the design of their shoes. Authentic Indigenous moccasins are made with all natural materials that signify a historical connection to the land. Creating authentic Indigenous crafts builds a genuine cultural connection that’s crucial in rebuilding relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Who:                EFry Calgary and Calgary Alpha House

What:              “Walk a Mile in Our Moccasins”

$55 includes all material and instruction to make one pair of infant moccasins

When:              Monday, June 19

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where:            Sunalta Community Centre

1627 10 Avenue SW

Why:                In celebration of Aboriginal Awareness Week

Registration is limited; call 403-294-0737 to secure your spot. Participation supports both Alpha House and EFry Calgary’s Indigenous Programming.


Remembering Chrissy

Shaundra Bruvall | June 9, 2017

Remembering Chrissy

It takes a certain type of person to work at Alpha House. There is a level of passion and heart that has to be present within someone in order for them to stay in the work. Addictions can cause many complexities in an individual’s life. The work is often heavy, and can take from you both mentally and physically, but in the same breath offers many blessings.

Within these walls we bandage scrapes, mediate disagreements and try to help mend hearts, all while trying to influence change in people’s lives. A listening ear or thoughtful words can do so much because often that’s all people want is someone to listen, someone to care. Everyone has a story and deserves the gift of human compassion, the feeling that when the roads are rough there is still a collective of people who will never stop caring, that will never give up.

Chrissy was one of those people, but she was more than that even. Chrissy was a person who made you want to always be a better person. No matter the circumstance, Chrissy always remained so patient, so kind, and so genuine. Her heart for the work was evident from early on at Alpha House. Chrissy handled every situation with such good intentions, and always maintained a sense of calm about her, even in the most chaotic situations. Chrissy always found the silver lining that would make you know it was all going to be okay, and that the work we do has a purpose – to spread love not hate.

Chrissy’s smile and the little giggle that went with it…this woman was the definition of a beautiful, genuine, all rounded human being. Chrissy showed her passion and love for the people she served through the countless hours she would sit with clients and let them talk about anything they needed to talk about. She always gave them that time to feel important and to feel heard, never needing to raise her voice. Chrissy cared so much for everyone, taking the time to make every person feel like they were valued.

The world has suffered the loss of a beautiful soul. Chrissy reminds us that we need to be more kind to each other and spread love throughout our communities. If more people in this world embodied the spirit and accepting nature that Chrissy did, this world would be so much easier, and so much more bearable for everyone to live in because love and acceptance really do change everything.

Written by Rebecca L., Shelter Team Lead at Alpha House

Alpha House News News


Calgary Foundation – Community of Knowledge

Shaundra Bruvall | March 6, 2017

We are pleased to have a page on the Calgary Foundation Community Knowledge Centre, which is a resource that connects you to the outstanding charitable organizations who serve our community. Be inspired by compelling stories. Be informed of innovative work. Be connected to the issues. Be responsive to the needs. It is great way for people to learn about what we do and how they can help our community work.

Alpha House News


Top 40 Under 40

Shaundra Bruvall | November 9, 2016

We are pleased to have our own Outreach and Housing Location Manager, Adam Melnyk selected this year for Avenue Magazines Top 40 Under 40. Adam has been working with Alpha House for over 10 years and helped start the DOAP Team in 2005. It is great that he can share about his passion for outreach work and harm reduction, which is all part of the great work we do at Alpha House

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Alpha House News


Alpha House received $250k from the CHBA – UDI Calgary Region Association

Shaundra Bruvall | April 20, 2016

We are excited to announce that Alpha House received $250k from the CHBA – UDI Calgary Region Association towards our women’s building. This is a building we want to develop for vulnerable females experiencing homelessness. We are working towards this lofty goal through the the Resolve campaign.  We were presented this cheque at the SAM awards this past Saturday evening. Thank you CHBA!

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Alpha House News Fundraising