Red Deer MLAs are encouraging city council to come up with potential locations for the permanent homeless shelter.
“It is much better for elected leaders in our community to have input in decisions with significant impacts to our community then unelected bureaucrats outside of our community,” said Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan in a statement released Thursday.
While speaking with the Advocate on Friday, Stephan said the province wants to work with council, and that he appreciates council’s insights and experiences.
“There’s great deference and weight provided to their input. I have a lot of respect for that. I want there to be a collective agreement. I expect there will be because we all want the same thing.”
On Thursday, city council held an in-camera meeting about the shelter. Two resolutions were made, but that information was still confidential. No further comment was available Friday.
Stephan said decisions have taken longer than he would have liked, but it’s important that it be done right. The last time he met virtually with city council was about a month ago. Another meeting is scheduled next week and it would be good to talk “more specifics on options.”
In a statement, LaGrange said she will continue to advocate for the shelter to be completed as quickly as possible.
Stephan and LaGrange have requested city council provide recommendations on potential location(s), and service provider(s) for the integrated shelter service.
After listening to businesses and families, Stephan said the following outcomes were necessary when it comes to shelter in his statement on Thursday:
• The shelter for those who are intoxicated, and the shelter for those who are sober, be located near each other to reduce impacts on families and businesses.
• Meal services be relocated out of a residential neighbourhood and consolidate those services in one location close to shelters.
• Provide daytime programs and integrated support for shelter users.
• Provide daytime shelter, especially for those who are incapacitated.
• Provide accountable protections to the community from the risk of shelter service providers acting without regard to the collateral consequences of their actions to businesses and families in the community.
The province announced $7 million for a permanent shelter last year. In the past few years, a 24/7 shelter was cited by Red Deer city council as a “top priority” need for Red Deer.