Four-plexes aid ‘hidden homeless’

Eight aboriginal families now have a place to call home thanks to a $1.3-million project developed by Shining Mountains Living Community Services.

Eight aboriginal families now have a place to call home thanks to a $1.3-million project developed by Shining Mountains Living Community Services.

Two four-plexes were renovated in the spring to provide housing for the homeless with the help of more than $900,000 in capital funds from the province.

The three-bedroom rental units in Glendale have been in use since May. Currently, seven units are occupied and one is being prepared for its next renter. Three families are on the waiting list for homes.

Raye St. Denys, executive director of Shining Mountains Living Community Services, said some of the families have been part of Red Deer’s “hidden homeless.”

“They have been living with families in overcrowded conditions and at risk of all of them becoming homeless,” St. Denys said on Wednesday when Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs officially announced funding for the project.

“We’ve got families that really need to be there.”

Families can also access support services at Red Deer Native Friendship Centre and other community agencies.

During the past year, the province committed $100 million to develop housing specifically for homeless individuals and families. The target to add 700 units across the province was exceeded due to reduced construction costs. The province has helped fund 940 units.

Mary Anne Jablonski, MLA for Red Deer-North, said homelessness continues to be a challenge for many communities, including Red Deer.

“The addition of eight new homes for the homeless will go a long way to easing the burden for our most disadvantaged families,” Jablonski said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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