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Big donation will help support Calgary's homeless population


A Calgary organization helping people who are experiencing homelessness is getting a big boost to launch barrier-free hygiene services in the city.

Bill Zheng, the co-founder of RadiCalgary, was named a recipient of Mazda Canada's Rising Legends program — and with it comes with a $50,000 donation to help the non-profit purchase a mobile hygiene unit.

"To offer hygiene is to offer public health and that is why it is so critical to be providing this for folks who are living on the street and even folks who are in shelter who are unable to get showers," said Zheng, who is also a nursing student at the University of Calgary.

The idea is borrowed from a program that started in San Fransisco and spread throughout the United States. A mobile hygiene unit is a trailer that has showers and bathrooms that can be brought right to the areas most needed in the city.

Zheng and RadiCalgary are also behind the Calgary Pop-up Care Village, a summer and winter meet-up providing unhoused people or those living in shelters with services like healthcare, haircuts and connections to social agencies.

"Homelessness is so prevalent in Calgary and I wanted to be part of something that take direct action, that makes an impact at the community level," said Hannah Kim, a volunteer with RadiCalgary.

For Zheng and Kim, the programs are about providing both dignity and healthcare to people may not have access to the basics.

"You have to let people know that there's support out there in the community for them. So that's the goal of the organization," said Kim.

Starting this month, RadiCalgary will aided by more UCalgary nursing students for its care villages and hygiene unit.

The next Calgary Pop-up Care Village is slated to happen in March while the hope is to launch the mobile hygiene unit around the city by summer. Top Stories

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