Red Deer to start examining options for housing more homeless people

Provincial $100,000 grant will help “start the conversation.”

Red Deer badly needs more permanent supportive housing for homeless people with addictions and mental health issues, said Scott Cameron, the city’s social planning manager.

The Social Planning Department received approval from City Council on Monday for a $100,000 expenditure for the planning of some kind of residence for people with violence issues, mental health and addiction problems, and other specialized medical requirements.

Cameron said the former Buffalo Hotel and Harbour House help fill some of the housing needs for this diverse group, but don’t have enough spaces for all the people with specialized care requirements who need a roof over their heads.

He isn’t sure whether a newly constructed supportive housing unit will be built — or whether existing space can be found and renovated for the purpose. The money, which was received from an Alberta Seniors and Housing grant, will help start the planning work needed to determine how to proceed.

“We’ll be able to initiate a process so we can look at all the options,” he said, adding a consultant might be hired to “initiate a conversation.”

Cameron hopes some federal government money can eventually be obtained to help finance this project.

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