By Eula Mengullo, September 22 2022—
A Calgary Pop-Up Care Village (C-PUCV) will be happening on Sept. 27 at the Olympic Plaza from 12 to 6 p.m.
In an interview with the Gauntlet, Bill Zheng — a first year nursing student at the University of Calgary, and a coordinator and assistant Team Lead at BeTheChangeYYC — elaborates on what the event will entail and the kinds of services provided for attendees.
“The purpose of the event is that it’s supposed to be a fun festival, serving populations experiencing systemic vulnerabilities,” said Zheng. “We don’t define what systemic vulnerability is, it looks different for everyone. But what that most commonly looks like for us as we are a homeless serving agency [would be] anyone experiencing or at risk of homelessness, addiction and mental health problems.”
The event will provide equitable access to basic services such as case management, health care, haircuts, clothing, food, entertainment and much more. It is a one-day event that aims to bridge the wider Calgarian community with the underserved population.
The Calgary Pop-Up Care Village is a collaborative project led by seven grassroot organizations including BeTheChangeYYC, AAWEAR, Angels in Action, Sobercrew/A.I.M, Harvest Hill Cares and Hearts for Humanity. A more comprehensive list of donators, partners and vendors is available on the C-PUCV website.
The C-PUCV is modeled after LavaMae’s Pop-Up Care Villages in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Zheng, who had been on a consulting basis with LavaMae, elaborates on the inspiration behind hosting a similar event for the population with systemic vulnerabilities in Calgary.
“A festival like this brings a levelled playing field. It allows one person to see another person and have actual interactions,” said Zheng. “And this is very different from an information fair, which is driven by providing services. We’re going above and beyond that point by adding fun activities, food, entertainment and having them interact amongst themselves. And in creating that space, it allows them to have this inherent respect for themselves and others in their own situation as well.”
The event is zero-barrier access and is open to anyone who would like to attend.
The C-PUCV is also recruiting for event volunteers as Safety and Wellness Ambassadors and Wayfinders and Intake Specialists. These positions do not require prior experience.