Winter shelter response in Red Deer 

  • Nov. 27, 2013 5:30 p.m.

People seeking shelter this winter will have safe places to go after a new approach by the City of Red Deer and Safe Harbour Society aims to maximize space at existing shelter facilities.

“It’s good to have the City of Red Deer standing beside us to address this important issue in our community,” said Kath Hoffman, executive director of Safe Harbour Society. “With their support, we’ve been able to maximize our existing shelter resources and meet our goal of having adequate and appropriate shelter year-round.”

Currently, the programs provided by Safe Harbour include Mats, an overnight shelter for adults who are under the influence of substances, and People’s Place, an emergency shelter for sober adults who have no other shelter means available to them.

“By using our existing resources efficiently, we are able to best serve our most vulnerable citizens,” said Scott Cameron, social planning manager. “We will continue to do everything within our means to provide safe alternatives for people seeking shelter.”

Through existing housing dollars, the City of Red Deer is funding Safe Harbour to add a part-time staff to work at the shelter from Nov. 1 to March 31. This will enable additional people to access safety from the cold at People’s Place. This person will assist with intake and explore alternatives with people seeking shelter to see if they have other options available. Clients at People’s Place are provided short term emergency shelter and an opportunity to access support toward permanent housing.

“Ending homelessness in Red Deer means assisting our homeless population into safe, secure, and appropriate housing with access to the supports and services they need for continued success,” said Cameron. “Making sure they are safe in the meantime is a critical step in securing permanent housing.”

One-time funding of $22,000 was provided earlier in the season through the Community Housing Advisory Board (CHAB) to purchase additional beds and linens for People’s Place to accommodate 12 additional guests without having to add staff.

City council will also consider second and third reading of an amendment to Direct Control District 19 of the Land Use Bylaw that would allow an additional six overnight shelter beds in Safe Harbour’s current facility (5246 – 53 Ave.) on Dec. 2.

“We will continue to work with community organizations like Safe Harbour in an effort to do everything we can to move forward with our plan to end homelessness in Red Deer,” said Cameron.

– Fawcett

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