A “member of faith” will be part of a committee that helps co-ordinate Red Deer’s next plan to end homelessness.
Noting that representatives from business, various housing and social service agencies, and the community at large, were already required for the Community Housing and Homelessness Integration Plan Ad-Hoc Committee, Coun. Ken Johnston suggested that a member from a place of worship also be included.
He noted that religious-affiliated institutions, such as The Mustard Seed, do a lot of work helping the vulnerable population.
The rest of council agreed, adding a 10th member to the committee.
Tricia Hercina, social planning manager for the City of Red Deer, said advertisements will be posted as soon as possible for applications for a spot on the committee. There’s a need to get this committee and running so it can begin a months-long public engagement process, including community consultations and workshops.
Hercina hopes to have a new draft plan to end homelessness in place later this year.
Coun. Dianne Wyntjes told council that many people in the community have asked her: “Why do more studies and have more conversations when we should understand the issues of housing and homelessness in the city by now?”
Hercina responded that the last plan to end homelessness was created a decade ago — before the opioid crisis and before Alberta’s economy slowed. “There has been a lot of evolution in programs and data sources… we need to identify new priorities.”
Council also extended the city’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy and the Outreach and Support Services Initiative on Monday to March 31, 2020, to allow for no disruption of services to clients while the city’s new plan to end homelessness and “systems framework” is finalized.