Red Deer city council has approved more than $1 million in federal cash towards four homelessness projects after earlier delaying a decision due to concerns over how dollars intended to help aboriginals were being distributed.
On Monday, council approved recommendations made by the Community Housing Advisory Board regarding the Federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy Grant. It will provide dollars from Jan. 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014.
One program known as the Red Deer Housing Team, operated by the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society, has been in existence for about 14 months. It received just over $500,000. The program involves a prevention outreach intake worker and two prevention case managers.
Society executive director Barb Barber said the Red Deer Housing Team works with individuals who are chronically homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.
“We work with those individuals to secure housing, retain housing and be successful,” said Barber.
As well, the Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre was awarded $110,000 towards its Youth Connection program. It will provide shelter and outreach support to teens aged 14 to 17, with the goal of reconnecting youth to their families or to set them up with housing.
The Red Deer and District Community Foundation received just over $190,000 over three years to hire a co-ordinator for its EveryOne’s Home Leadership Model. The co-ordinator will serve as an internal resource to the working groups of EveryOne’s Home Leadership Model.
The co-ordinator will help raise public awareness, will inform the larger community on issues of importance related to homelessness, and will provide opportunities for the larger community to participate in ending homelessness in Red Deer.
The Red Deer Native Friendship Society is doing an aboriginal housing outreach project for just over $281,000. The project will help re-house individuals and also help individuals get the external resources they need.
The Community Housing Advisory Board used to look at all projects under one stream, but now will allocate dollars according to “aboriginal homelessness” and “designated communities funding.”
A Red Deer contingent calling themselves Aboriginal Interagency Members had expressed concerns earlier this fall that federal grant dollars designed to get homeless aboriginals back on their feet are ending up with non-aboriginal providers.