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

Photos: Children enjoy petting animals near Red Deer Sunday

Children and families learned about various animals and birds at a petting… Continue reading

Search for missing Tofino boaters scaled back, handed over to RCMP

TOFINO, B.C. — Jae Valentine woke to the sound of wolves howling… Continue reading

Get ready for the ‘internet of cows’: Farmers use technology to shake up agriculture

MONTREAL — Get ready for the “internet of cows.” Generations of farmers… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer cadets conclude year of learning

After a year of hard work, Red Deer’s local Air and Army… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Alberta High School Soccer League champs crowned

Lindsay Thurber girls’ team and Notre Dame boys’ team won Saturday at Edgar Park Field in Red Deer

5 dead as SUV chased by Border Patrol crashes in South Texas

BIG WELLS, Texas — At least five people were killed and several… Continue reading

Ramifications of a trade war: an expert look at the numbers for Canada

OTTAWA — A new analysis of escalating trade disputes involving the United… Continue reading

Deliberate spill: study launched to test crude and bitumen impact on lake life

KENORA, Ont. — Researchers were in northwestern Ontario over the weekend spilling… Continue reading

Two-spirit N.B. First Nation chief says his election points to progress

FREDERICTON — The new leader of a New Brunswick First Nation said… Continue reading

Google diversity report: Black women make up only 1.2 percent of its US workforce

Google released its annual workforce diversity report Thursday, marking only modest changes… Continue reading

Brazil held to 1-1 draw by Switzerland at World Cup

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia — Brazil joined the list of big teams struggling to… Continue reading

Canada’s Auger-Aliassime wins Sopra Steria title for 2nd straight year

LYON, France — Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime defended his ATP Challenger Sopra Steria… Continue reading

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

MOSCOW — The suspect in a taxi crash near Red Square that… 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