Community Homeless Winter Emergency Response

The Winter Emergency Response (WER) returns for the 2022/23 season starting November 1, 2022. An alert banner will appear on this page when the response is activated.

What is Winter Emergency Response?

Winter Emergency Response is a joint effort between the City and several partner community organizations to help unsheltered people escape the cold winter weather. The response is activated when the temperature (including wind chill) drops to, or below, a pre-determined threshold for a sustained period of time. When the Winter Emergency Response is activated, guests are able to attend the Late Night Cafe, hosted by Congregational Christian Fellowship Church (445 King Street). They have access to a hot meal, a place to rest, and cold weather supplies. Transportation is made available within Spruce Grove, to and from warm-up locations or to shelters in Edmonton on an as-needed basis. 

What's new for 2022/23?

In an effort to help as many people as possible, there are two significant changes to the way the Winter Emergency Response operates:

  • The temperature threshold was lowered from -25 C to -20 C. The response will be activated when the temperature drops to -20 C or below, for at least 24 hours.
  • The hours for the Late Night Cafe have increased to 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. (previously 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.)

Volunteers needed!

Due to the lower temperature threshold and increased hours, it's expected the Late Night Cafe will be active for approximately 50 days this winter. We are recruiting 10-15 additional volunteers to help operate the Late Night Cafe. Typical duties include: assisting with guest sign in, serving dinner and coffee, organizing and distributing donations, packing snack bags, supervising guests throughout the night, and general cleaning.

Volunteers must:

  • Be 18+
  • Complete a volunteer screening process
  • Pass a criminal record and vulnerable sector check (no charge to the volunteer)
  • Attend a mandatory training/orientation session in early November
  • Be willing to work the night shift (7 p.m. to 12 a.m.) or the overnight shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) during the winter months (November to March) when the temperature drops to -20 C or below. 

Apply to volunteer

Who is involved in the response?

The Winter Emergency Response is made possible by a collaboration between these organizations:

  • City of Spruce Grove - Protective Services & Community Social Development
  • RCMP
  • Spruce Grove Community Church
  • Congregational Christian Fellowship Church
  • Saints Church Glory Hills
  • Tri-Region Pay Forward Kindness Society
  • TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre
  • Rotary Club of Spruce Grove
  • Spruce Grove Public Library

The Winter Emergency Response (WER) was first developed for the 2019-2020 winter season.

Questions?

For general inquiries, email csd@sprucegrove.org or socialplanning@sprucegrove.org

Phone: 780-962-7583 (9 a.m.4:00 p.m.)

Frequently asked questions

Unsheltered people and families in our community benefit from these supports during periods of extreme cold weather.

A committee consisting of municipal and community organizations and groups was assembled with the goal of having a collaborative plan in place by November 2020. The committee is comprised of:

  • City of Spruce Grove – Protective Services & Community Social Development
  • RCMP
  • Engage Church
  • Spruce Grove Community Church
  • Congregational Christian Fellowship Church
  • Tri-Region Pay Forward Kindness Society
  • TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre
  • Rotary Club of Spruce Grove
  • Spruce Grove Public Library

The Winter Emergency Response (WER) was first developed for the 2019-2020 winter season. The collaborative group debriefed in April 2020 before starting planning the 2020-2021 response.

Weather data from the past five years (2014-2018) was reviewed using Environment Canada’s Wind Chill Index to determine the average number of days each year that were below -30, -25, and -20 (including wind chill). This data assisted in determining the cold weather threshold that the community has capacity to support.

Individuals who attend the Late Night Café are not required to seek additional supports. If an individual requests additional supports, the staff and volunteers at the Late Night Café will be able to connect them with the appropriate resources.

Yes, and thank you for your support!

Volunteers are encouraged to submit an application.

Cash donations are accepted through Spruce Grove Community Church. Please make a note that you would like the donation to go towards the Winter Emergency Response. E-transfer and credit card donations can be made using the donation form on the Spruce Grove Community Church website. Note: Clicking the above link will open a third party website not managed or operated by the City of Spruce Grove. The City cannot guarantee the security of transactions made using this form.

Call 9-1-1 whenever you see someone in serious or immediate distress or in case of emergency.

 

Individuals will not be turned away regardless of their residency, however, transportation to and from the Late Night Café will only be available within the City of Spruce Grove corporate limits.

Look for an alert banner at the top of this web page when the response is active. When there is no alert message on this page, the response is not active.   

The response will be active during the holidays if the cold weather threshold is reached. 

The response is not available on a 24/7 basis. The Late Night Café is available 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. when the alert is active. The focus of this response is to provide a warm place when no other businesses or facilities are open to the public.

At this time, the Government of Alberta does not have any mandatory COVID-19 public health restrictions in place. Should restrictions be implemented again during the winter months, all recommended procedures will be followed during the Winter Emergency Response, including:

  • Physical distancing
  • Hand washing/sanitizer stations
  • Guest registration
  • Screening of staff and guests upon entry
  • Environmental cleaning procedures
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