Red Deer City council approved a land use amendment that will allow for the addition of six beds for the Safe Harbour Society on Monday.
Last month, council heard that the facility, located at 5246 – 53 Ave., has shown a need for more beds. The amendment change will 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.
“We’re very happy – it’s the most beds we can physically fit in this building,” said Tricia Haggarty-Roberts, assistant executive director of Safe Harbour. “In terms of enough, we believe so on a day to day basis. It gets us more in line with where we should be in the community in terms of having adequate shelter spaces.”
She added the need for shelter space fluctuates from night to night.
“It’s very random with this particular group. One night we might have two turn-aways and the next there might be 10. We always use our diversion skills so folks have a place to go. We are just taking those that really have no other option.”
The additional six beds would be used either for the detox program or the mat program.
“We are very appreciative the community and the support we have received.”
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).
With temperatures plunging this week Haggarty-Roberts said the additional beds will certainly help with providing more shelter.
“Along with the increase at People’s Place with the Winter Emergency Plan that came out last week, that is certainly helpful to have. We should have most folks tucked in safe.”