Health Centre ‘Cart Parking’

Health centre ‘cart parking’ offers safe area for homeless to keep belongings

The Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre says unique option for homeless people is working

CBC News Posted: May 01, 2017 7:32 AM MTLast Updated: May 01, 2017 7:32 AM MT

Homeless people receiving care at Calgary’s Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre have some peace of mind knowing their belongings are being looked after while they are receiving treatment.

Instead of leaving their belongings outside and unattended, they can keep them in a designated, safe parking spot in front of the building.

The centre installed three cart-parking stalls in front of the east entrance a year ago and says complaints from the public are down as a result.

Poster of video clip

“Our protective services officers do patrol the area, so these people can know that when they do come in and access services on our site that they can come out and actually still have their belongings,” said the centre’s site manager, Sherry Heather.

“We have to care about all of our clients, every single person that comes in this door,” said Heather. “This is a way to show we care about all of our clients.”

“There’s been a lot of uptake. We don’t find the carts left around the building anymore,” she said.

Sherry Heather

The centre’s site manager, Sherry Heather, says they have a broad and diverse customer base at the downtown health centre and lots of them turn up with shopping carts. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

When the carts are left in the stalls security guards keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not disturbed.

“I just pray that nothing gets taken, the empties and the food,” says 22-year-old Lahtiesha Medicine Shield. “Now that I see how much stuff is in here and how much work went into it.”

Everything she owns fills her old shopping cart.

“This is our home to us,” she said.