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Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce to set up task force to tackle homelessness

‘Clearly our current strategies are not enough’ says chamber CEO
Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce wants to put together a task force of community and business leaders to figure out how to address homelessness in Red Deer. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce says it will convene a task force of community and business leaders to address the issues of homelessness and identify actionable steps to tackle this generational challenge in Red Deer.

“With the release of the City of Red Deer’s Point in Time (PIT) Report on homelessness last week we are very concerned and disappointed with the effectiveness of the strategies currently in place, and the urgency by which we need to turn this situation around within our city,” said chamber CEO Scott Robinson, in a statement.

“Clearly our current strategies are not enough, and we need to elevate the urgency by which we get things done to reduce the number of citizens who are without a place to live. The growing number of people who are homeless is not sustainable and is impacting our sense of pride, safety and the attractiveness of our city to business and industry.”

The chamber says over the next 60 days it will reach out to its business and social agency partners to build the task force and establish a strategy to address the critical steps that need to be taken to reverse the trends and further Red Deer’s vision as a vibrant and healthy city.

“Time has run out to act with conviction, courage, and clarity. Our community and citizens deserve that from our community leaders, and we are ready to bring the business community and the urgency required to the table,” Robinson said.

Chamber president Matt Cassidy said the chamber is positioned to be the collaborative leader in connecting the business community, social agencies, and elected officials together, to find tangible progress on this complex issue.

“All businesses rely on the vibrancy of our community as they strive to be sustainable, innovative, or grow, and the results of the PIT Report indicate that we need to do much more. This task force will help hold our leaders accountable for the actionable progress needed and engage one another effectively,” Cassidy said.

“In speaking with our membership and those working closely with the vulnerable populations, there are best practices and models for delivery that are successful in other parts of the world that we need to start implementing. In addition, we need to look at ways that our private sector can get more involved and bring their expertise and strategic thinking to the table,” Robinson said.

“As a collaborative community we also need to ensure that governments at all levels are delivering on their promises of affordable housing and eliminating barriers to expediating these investments.”

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