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.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ride to Conquer Cancer cancels but Red Deerian keeps going

Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer was cancelled due to smoke

Red Deer woman saving animals at wildlife centre with TV show

Victoria Bolhuis, 22, interned at Hope for Wildlife for 10 weeks before moving into paid position

Record-breaking year in Red Deer for smoke

Expect more smoke in Red Deer Wednesday

Mustard Seed prepares people for workforce

Employment Readiness Fair to be held August 28

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Media

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending programs

OTTAWA — The minister in charge of Canada’s latest national plan to… Continue reading

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month