April 15, 2024

The funding will assist rental and wraparound companies, together with for folks combating addictions, and cut back encampments within the area.

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Council has unanimously accepted $132,068 in funding for combating homelessness within the area. The cash will go in the direction of the Homelessness Initiatives Strategic Committee (HISC) for the 2024-25 Neighborhood Plan on Homelessness.

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The province and federal authorities have dedicated greater than $5 million in the direction of combating homelessness within the area. The funding covers a municipal request for elevated funding that each ranges of presidency denied.

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Deanne Bergey, the municipality’s group and protecting companies director, mentioned the total funding will assist rental and wraparound companies, together with addictions applications. It’ll even be used to cut back encampments within the area. The municipal plan takes a Housing First method, which makes use of caseworkers to assist individuals who have simply moved right into a housing program.

“We’re working carefully with Indigenous companies as a result of we all know that 60 per cent of these experiencing homelessness are Indigenous,” mentioned Bergey. “I need to imagine that we’ll finish homelessness, or at the very least get to practical zero the place everybody that desires a house is in a house, and I feel we’re on the precise path.”

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Bergey warned council at their Tuesday assembly that federal funding will doubtless be lowered for the finances years between 2026 and 2028. A report back to council estimates the shortfall for the 2025-26 grant yr is greater than $700,000.

Non-profits within the area have argued the variety of chronically homeless folks within the area is probably going larger than what’s present in municipal counts. Bergey mentioned the municipality is aware of of 36 folks dwelling on the streets and 93 folks on the By Identify Checklist ready for housing. It is a 98 per cent improve from final yr.

“That’s not dangerous information, that simply means we’ve been capable of faucet into these people who’re dwelling work and so they’ve seen this system work and so they additionally need to be housed,” mentioned Bergey.

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Councillor Allan Grandison was outspoken all through the assembly along with his issues that filling the shortfall will set precedents for taking up tasks that aren’t the municipality’s duty. However simply earlier than the vote, Grandison mentioned he was altering his thoughts.

Mayor Sandy Bowman agreed with Grandison’s issues concerning the municipality overlaying for different ranges of presidency and promised to push the provincial and federal governments for extra funding. Bowman additionally praised the work of HISC and mentioned leaders in Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Crimson Deer have additionally complimented the municipality’s work on combating homelessness.

“Though we do have homelessness, we do have encampments right here in our group, I imagine we’re leaps and bounds forward of everybody else,” mentioned Bowman. “It’s not simply me saying that. Sitting down with Lethbridge, they’re like ‘what are you doing? What are you doing proper?’ My solely reply is now we have the precise folks right here.”

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