Homelessness projects funded

Red Deer will receive $1.1 million in funding from the province for homelessness initiatives during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Red Deer will receive $1.1 million in funding from the province for homelessness initiatives during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The provincial government will give top priority to housing first initiatives, which focus on getting people housed and then offering them the services they need.

The funding is part of the province’s 10-year strategy to end homelessness, announced in March 2009.

Scott Cameron, social planning manager with the City of Red Deer, said the city is well-positioned to make use of the funding.

Red Deer has worked with the province on housing first initiatives for the past couple of years with local housing first pilot projects, such as the Buffalo Hotel and the Safe Harbour Society’s Housing First program.

Cameron anticipates the city will sign an agreement with the province shortly and be able to start allocating the cash. The city, in consultation with the province, will still need to determine how much of the funding will be for new projects or for support of current projects.

The city currently has a call for proposals out for homelessness initiatives. An as yet undetermined portion of the new funding will likely be added to the pot of money to be distributed to non-profit organizations in the city. Applications are due by the end of May, with the Community Advisory Board on Housing recommendations going before city council by the end of June.

Stacey Carmichael is the co-ordinator of community leadership initiatives with the Red Deer and District Community Foundation and has been given the task to end homelessness in the city.

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