Over the past few weeks, the City of Red Deer has hosted seven meetings to better understand the questions and concerns of downtown property owners. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Over the past few weeks, the City of Red Deer has hosted seven meetings to better understand the questions and concerns of downtown property owners. (File photo by Advocate staff)

City of Red Deer to review report and consider next steps with permanent shelter Monday

Red Deer City Council will meet Monday to determine the next step in the process to establish a permanent shelter.

Over the past few weeks, the city has hosted seven meetings to better understand the questions and concerns of downtown property owners, businesses, associations, and service providers.

On Monday, administration and a third-party engagement specialist, Maven Strategy, will present a “What We Heard” report detailing an overview of these focused community conversations.

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“We learned that our community wants to help, and we want to take them up on this offer and collaborate to develop solutions. We heard that we need to take the time to share information, bring our community to the table, and build on the common theme that we need shelter services in our community that meet the needs of Red Deerians,” said Interim City Manager Tara Lodewyk in a press release.

“Unfortunately, sometimes our legislated public hearing processes and standard requirements don’t enable us to have the in-depth conversations about complex topics like the permanent shelter, but we know this is a potentially divisive topic and we want to make sure that when we proceed as a community, in partnership with the province of Alberta, we are doing what is best for Red Deer and all of our citizens.”

According to the release, the permanent shelter “is a provincially funded project that aims to provide services needed by the community’s vulnerable population to support their journey into successful permanent housing.”

In November 2020, the province committed $7 million towards the purpose-built integrated permanent shelter in Red Deer and in February 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the province and the city was finalized.

In January 2022, a potential location for consultation was released for the permanent shelter.

Last month, city officials conducted several targeted community conversations to develop a better understanding of the community’s thoughts on the shelter, its location, and the process thus far, in advance of zoning requirements for the proposed location.

The special meeting Monday starts at 12:30 p.m. with an in-camera session that will last approximately an hour, before an open council meeting to review next steps.