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    Posted December 3, 2014 by

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    Helping the homeless, Siloam Mission unveils new podiatry room


    In an effort to help Winnipeg’s homeless Siloam Mission has opened a podiatry room staffed with three volunteer doctors and nurses. The new facility is located in the same Centre as the temporary room it replaces.

    The permanent addition to the downtown Winnipeg shelter was put together by Dr. Tejel Patel and will be funded by donations. The $15,000 facility will provide patients with treatment of foot problems, education on foot hygiene and advice on treatment of diabetes and arthritis. Those suffering from toe nail fungus will also be helped to get rid of toenail fungal infection.


    The emphasis is on catching foot problems before they become debilitating.

    “Some people are on their feet all day at times, walking long distances at times, so there are problems associated with that,” said Dr. Patel at the unveiling.

    The permanent facility replaces a temporary space at the Saul Sair Health Centre. The weekly demands of treating the homeless quickly outgrew the temporary nature of the room. The new room is located in the Saul Sair Centre at 300 Princess Street.

    “The folks we serve are walking or standing constantly, without proper footwear,” Siloam executive director Floyd Perras said in a statement to the Winnipeg Free Press. “Their feet get wet and frostbitten. The skin breaks down. They aren’t able to properly look after wounds, blisters, and calluses. These things quickly snowball into major health issues.”

    Last year, over 230 people, many homeless, came to the Siloam Mission with problems related to their feet. Opening the permanent facility will make treatment and education easier. Although not every visit is for immediate treatment, there is enough demand to ensure that a permanent facility is needed. According to Patel, one of the greatest challenges is ensuring the homeless have the proper footwear due to Winnipeg’s changes in climate between summer and winter.

    Local relief agencies also report a growing need for winter footgear for the homeless.


    “In the summer it’s hot, so there are friction and blister issues associated with the heat,” Dr. Patel said. “While winter sees more insulation problems. No matter what season we’re in, though, this service and this new space will continue to help a lot of people.”

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