Community and Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir listens to Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer speak during a funding announcement on Thursday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

UPDATED: Government funding announced to fight homelessness and family violence in Central Alberta

Addressing homelessness and family violence in Central Alberta received a $275,000 boost from the provincial government on Thursday.

Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir was in Red Deer to announce the city will receive $125,000 and Sylvan Lake will receive $150,000 in grant funding.

“We do know we have people in Red Deer who are still looking for housing support so these dollars will go towards providing services to people who are in need,” said Sabir.

The $125,000 funding for Red Deer is in addition to the more than $3.5 million provided annually to the city to better support and house homeless people.

“These funds in the long term will help get people off the street and into homes,” said Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer. “Any funds that come to Red Deer help us provide those necessary support for the existing homeless population in our community.”

Since 2009, Red Deer has housed or provided support for 542 individuals through outreach support services initiatives, Veer said.

“We know there’s work to be done as we renew our commitment to ending homelessness,” she said.

About 40 per cent of the homeless population in Red Deer is homeless, Veer said, which is something the city will need to further address in the future.

Preventing family violence in Central Alberta is another thing that was important to support, Sabir said.

“No one should live with the fear of violence and if they’re in a situation we believe Albertans should have the support they need,” said Sabir.

With the $150,000, 13 centres to provide resources, information and referral supports to those affected by family violence and bullying will be created in communities in central Alberta.

Those communities, Benalto, Bentley, Blackfalds, Bowden, Delburne, Eckville, Elnora, Innisfail, Lacombe, Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler and Sylvan Lake, formed the Central Alberta Regional Vision for Non-Violence Coalition to develop and share resources.

“It’s great to see the coalition’s work continue and we’re very grateful for the provincial government’s support,” said Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre.

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