At tonight's meeting, City Council resolved to support the continuation of an interim shelter and directed administration to find a new location in collaboration with the Province and service providers.
“We have a responsibility to look after our most vulnerable citizens in a responsible manner, with the interests of the wider community in mind as well,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Without a permanent integrated homeless shelter in place, infrastructure we have been advocating the Province for years to complete, it is no surprise that the public is frustrated, the service providers are frustrated and the vulnerable themselves are frustrated. There are significant consequences in the community for having temporary and insufficient solutions to very complex social challenges, but I am hopeful the preliminary direction Council gave today will help will bridge the gap for vulnerable citizens, the service providers, and our business community and community in general until a more permanent solution can be put into place.”
Within four weeks, administration will bring back options for a new interim shelter location for Council to consider. To ensure the proper processes take place for the relocation, administration will also bring forward a recommendation to extend the operations at the current temporary shelter site at Cannery Row.
“Although we are proceeding with exploration of potential new interim sites, we will most likely need Council to approve an extension of the Cannery Row site until the new location is up and running. When we come back in four weeks, we will bring timing, costs and procedural requirements to make the move to a new site,” said City Manager Allan Seabrooke.
At this time, the Cannery Row site has guaranteed Provincial funding until March 31, 2022. The City will work with the Province and Safe Harbour to secure proper funding for a new temporary location.
“During discussions, Council was made aware of the funding agreement in place, and recognizes there could be financial requirements from The City to move and operate the interim shelter in its new location,” said Seabrooke. “We will gather as much information as possible to allow Council to make an informed decision, including potential operating and capital costs, which will require Council approval.”
“City Council’s resolutions tonight aim to balance the needs of Red Deer’s vulnerable population, surrounding properties and the community as a whole. However, despite our best efforts, Safe Harbour and the Province of Alberta may still select their own site, as long as it is zoned for public service,” said Seabrooke.
The interim shelter is expected to support the community’s vulnerable population until a permanent shelter is operational. On February 7, 2020, the Province committed to $7 million in its 2020 Capital Plan for a purpose built integrated emergency shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Alberta and The City of Red Deer was finalized in February 2021 to establish a general high-level understanding related to the provincially managed project to meet the current and future needs in Red Deer. Specifics about location, timing and operational details have not yet been determined by the provincial government.
More information about Council’s decision and administrative steps will be released in the coming weeks.
For more information, please contact:
The City of Red Deer