Looking out into this winter weather from our warm homes is something we should not be taking for granted. There are a great many in our world suffering from homelessness in our community that we may not realize.
Rural homelessness often looks different than what is seen in urban centres, and Jennessa McAuley, Community and Family Services Worker for the Drumheller Salvation Army explained that Drumheller can be a tough place to be suffering.
"We actually don't have any emergency housing here in Drumheller. There aren't any formalized options. People who are considered in the category of homeless or potentially unhoused, it creates kind of a high-risk situation when we don't have any options for them when they lose their house at a time like right now (weather). It would be great if we had more options for that emergency phase."
When confronted with a situation like this, The Salvation Army does what they can to help someone suffering by seeing what everyone can bring to the table in terms of resources. The organization focuses more on how to prevent the situation from someone being forced out of a home.
"It is quite serious, prevention is probably the better end of things, you can mitigate risks or you can lessen combating factors in peoples lives, then we can prevent people from becoming unhoused. The other end of things we don't have as many options," continued McAuley.
The biggest factor for those who are facing immediate homelessness is the lack of transportation to bigger centres. McAuley explained that not having a place for them to go to can cause a huge risk, but she does see positivity in the community.
"One great thing about Drumheller is that we often see people taking care of each other. No, we don't have any formalized options like a shelter, but at the same time, we don't have a ton of people where we have to strategize an immediate emergency situation. I think that it is amazing to see people in the community helping out each other and in those in need. It is great to have service in place, but when people take care of people, that's ideal," concluded McAuley.
A Drumheller Poverty Reduction Action Group is currently being formed to address this situation. If you would like to be a part of it you can contact April Harrison of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) at 403-823-1315.