Boyle Street needs another $80K to get warming bus up and running
A challenge from a local business owner has spurred a handful of donations, but more help is needed
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A challenge from one Edmonton business has the wheels turning on a campaign to fund Boyle Street’s warming bus.
The bus, which usually runs every winter and offers transportation and key services to people in need, has not been funded this year for the first time in more than a decade.
Boyle Street needs $100,000 to get it back on the road.
Andy Holt, president of A-Squared Communications, donated $1,000 on Wednesday and issued a challenge on Twitter for other businesses to follow suit.
A few have, but Boyle Street is a long way from getting gas in the tank.
“We’ve definitely seen some traction out of that, which is good, but we still have a considerable amount to go,” said the organization's programs director Aidan Inglis.
Inglis said donations were closing in on $20,000 Friday afternoon.
The warming bus offers riders warm food, clothing, blankets, resources for support services and a place to warm up seven days a week.
It also provides transportation to the Jasper Place Wellness Centre, the southside Neighbour Centre and the northside Mosaic Centre, and picks up people from around the city to bring them to downtown shelters.
Inglis said a lot of people have come to rely on the bus and remember its route, and its absence is putting those people in a tough spot.
“Things in our climate can change very quickly, and that’s when folks get into tough situations that can be ultimately deadly,” he said.
“For some folks it’s the only service they connect with on a daily basis. So essentially it’s the only service checking in on them or making sure they’re all right – and if things aren’t all right, able to connect them to services right away or make sure that they get the attention they need.”
The bus was funded by Homeward Trust until last year, when the agency decided it could no longer afford it. That time, several community partners were able to come up with the $100,000.
It usually runs from Nov. 1 to the end of April.
Inglis said 1,317 people rode the warming bus last winter.