A panel discussion held Wednesday morning at the 7 Cities Conference on Housing First and Homelessness featured Jaime Rogers, manager of homeless and housing at Medicine Hat Community Housing Society; Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, Catharine Hume, co-executive director of RainCity Housing; and Calgary Mountain View MLA David Swann. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Homeless challenges continue for communities

Red Deer focusing on co-ordinating access

Three years after ending chronic homelessness, Medicine Hat is now anticipating housing challenges from rapid growth that other cities like Red Deer have already experienced.

A squeeze on available housing and increasing rental rates are expected soon, said a Medicine Hat housing official.

“We’re expecting it to take a drastic turn here in the next 12 to 18 months,” said Jaime Rogers, manager of homeless and housing at Medicine Hat Community Housing Society.

“Big business is coming to Medicine Hat creating a lot of jobs so we are facing some different challenges around housing.”

Rogers, who was a panel member Wednesday morning at the 7 Cities Conference on Housing First and Homelessness at Sheraton Red Deer, said being a smaller city initially helped Medicine Hat eliminate chronic homelessness.

“We don’t have the migration that we see in other communities. We’re not Red Deer where you have a lot of flow through and a lot of people.”

But growth will bring on challenges that other communities faced early on while working on their plans and processes to end homelessness, she said.

Rogers said Medicine Hat identified and accelerated some initiatives during its five-year plan to end homelessness which helped it achieve its goal.

“Medicine Hat had one of the first centralized intake processes where we actually prioritize individuals for services. You see other communities refining their models now. We did that very early on.”

She said ending chronic homelessness does not mean no one is homelessness in Medicine Hat.

“What it means is there a robust and comprehensive system that is responsive to the unique needs of the individual and the community so they don’t have to stay in that state,” Rogers said.

Earlier this week the federal government announced fewer spending restrictions on homelessness funding.

Mayor Tara Veer said a couple of years ago Red Deer identified moving towards a co-ordinated and system-based approach to create a more single point of entry for housing the homeless. The government’s new emphasis on co-ordinated access and allowing communities to determine their priorities holds potential for Red Deer.

“They have specifically stipulated that they will be delivering funding directly to municipalities and service providers which allows us to allocate funds in terms of local priorities,” Veer said.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP investigate possible drowning at Pigeon Lake: Man and woman found dead on shore

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

Red Deer Region Highland Dancing Association to participate in national dance-a-thon

Central Albertan dancers have missed performing during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the… Continue reading

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

Still no mandatory masks in Red Deer

While a growing number of Alberta communities have made masks mandatory, the… Continue reading

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

69 salmonella cases in B.C. linked to red onions, province’s CDC says

VANCOUVER — The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning people in… Continue reading

Puncher’s chance: Fighting is up during unique NHL playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ season was hanging by a thread from one… Continue reading

Quebec festivals organizers look to innovate as restrictions loosened

Montreal has been having its quietest summer in recent memory, as COVID-19… Continue reading

COVID-19 outbreaks over in federal prisons, staff preparing for ‘new normal’

COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada’s federal prisons have been declared over, and staff… Continue reading

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

OTTAWA — The federal government will match all individual donations from Canadians… Continue reading

Protests in Beirut amid public fury over massive blast

BEIRUT — Police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators in Lebanon’s… Continue reading

Most Read