Local agencies receive funding to help City’s homeless

  • Dec. 19, 2012 4:17 p.m.

A number of agencies in Red Deer will benefit from funding announced by the province to help move homeless in the City off the street and to build a better future.

As part of Alberta’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, local agencies in Red Deer will receive $3 million for outreach support service programs, a $615,000 increase over last year.

Funding will go towards programs including the Shelter Triage, which will administer a housing assessment tool for homeless individuals. Funding will also support Housing First programs which provide a place to live and support services for homeless individuals with addictions, medical and psychiatric issues.

Programs that will benefit include the Red Deer Housing Team, New Beginning Aboriginal Housing, Harbour House, Winter Inn, the Buffalo Housing First Program and the Supported Recovery Housing Project.

The announcement made last week was one of seven announcements across the province.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Cal Dallas, minister of International and Intergovernmental Affairs and MLA for Red Deer South. “This is great news for Alberta’s homeless and for our community. By eliminating homelessness, we will build stronger communities.

“The Alberta government is focused on helping homeless Albertans here in Red Deer build a better future. We will continue to work with the community to make sure that local priorities are addressed and we achieve more success with our plan to end homelessness.”

Mayor Morris Flewwelling said the funding is welcome.

“We are a very connected community. We have a plan to lead the nation in fighting to end homelessness. We haven’t solved the problem yet but I think we have made it easier for many. We have made progress.”

In alignment with its 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, the Alberta government has committed approximately $60 million to community-based organizations in seven Alberta cities, an increase of $12.3 million or 26% over last year. Funding will help provide homeless individuals with permanent supportive housing programs and other services that address the underlying causes of homelessness.

“This government investment will maintain the momentum needed to achieve the goals set out in Red Deer’s ‘Five Year Plan Towards Ending Homelessness’,” said Scott Cameron, the City’s social planning manager. “We’ve already seen great success in housing this vulnerable population, thanks to the hard work of the community.”

Alberta’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness completed its third year in March. More than 6,000 formerly homeless people, including 1,255 families, now have a safe home with support to remain housed.

The overall budget to support Alberta’s homeless population this year is $110 million, which includes funding from the Outreach Support Services Initiative.