Red Deer City Hall (Advocate file photo).

Planning to end homelessness in Red Deer — again

A decade later, it’s time to update the Plan to End Homelessness

Perhaps Red Deer’s ‘Plan to End Homelessness’ could never could live up to its billing.

While the document is reaching the end of its 10-year lifespan, homelessness continues to be an issue in Red Deer. This means another plan will soon be needed to deal with it from the end of 2018 into the future.

At Monday’s city council meeting, the City’s Social Planning department, acting on a recommendation from the Community Housing Advisory Board, sought an additional $103,900 for one-year — in part to facilitate the update of the local homelessness plan.

Red Deer city council approved the additional administrative cost of delivering the Outreach and Support Services Initiative (OSSI) grant, bringing the overall administration cost to $383,500 for the period of April 1 2018 to March 31 2019.

Tricia Hercina, acting social planning manager, said there are three reasons for the additional funding request: Firstly, a consultant needs to be hired and more community consultations and co-ordinated efforts are needed to update the homelessness plan. These revisions, costing about $62,200, will begin in the fall.

As well, Hercina said about $30,000 is needed to evaluate how well the city’s single-point of entry system is working to assess homeless people and match them to an appropriate agency for help. It’s time to see if the “co-ordinated entry” process is still the most effective.

The third use for the extra money is giving $11,700 to some city agencies to pay for the cost of professional staff development.

Yvonne Peebles, chair and aboriginal representative of the Community Housing Advisory Board, told council these agencies are putting whatever government money is available to them straight into programs, which leaves a need for staff training.

The additional $103,900 needed will mostly come from interest gained over the years from various government grants.

Coun. Tanya Handley said she generally doesn’t like to increase administrative costs. But in this case, she accepts the additional money is needed for only one year, and that it won’t come from city reserves.

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