Red Deer City council gave first reading on Monday to a land use amendment that would see the addition of six beds for the Safe Harbour Society.
Council heard that the facility, located at 5246 – 53 Ave., has shown a need for more beds. The amendment change would allow for a maximum 46 bed combined non-medical detoxification centre and overnight shelter.
Currently, there are 40 beds and the addition of six more would not require any sort of facility expansion. The current location for the detox centre and overnight shelter was approved in 2005 and opened in July of 2007.
“Safe Harbour is a group that ensures adequate and appropriate shelter beds to serve the community on a year-round basis,” said Tara Lodewyk, planning manager for the City. “They have also made a conscious effort to connect with neighbours in the area. They’ve done tours and visit their neighbours to have ongoing discussions.”
Lodewyk said that currently, there are 20 beds dedicated to the detox program for long-term clients. The other 20 beds are for overnight shelter for adults.
“These adults are under the influence from substances. This is a place where they can come in from the cold and have a warm place to be overnight.”
The additional six beds would be used either for the detox program or the mat program, she said.
“With their current need, they are wanting to use the six beds for the mat program,” she said. “Right now, they are turning clients away.”
Central Alberta’s Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing was formed on April 11, 2007.
The agency resulted from the amalgamation of three non-profit agencies – the Safe Harbour Society (detox and overnight shelter for individuals who are high or intoxicated,) the Red Deer Residential Society (transitional housing units), and the Central Alberta Housing Society (homeless shelter and transitional housing).
Council ultimately voted unanimously to grant first reading on the amendment.
Next up, the amendment comes before council for consideration of second and third reading on Dec. 2. At that time, a public hearing will also be held for residents to comment on the amendment.