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Rural homelessness initiative launched in Central Alberta

Lacombe FCSS part of Alberta Homeless Estimation Project

A project to estimate the number of homeless in rural areas is coming to Central Alberta.

Lacombe and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is part of the Alberta Homeless Estimation Project. It is co-ordinated by the FCSS Association of Alberta and administered by the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN).

“The goal of the project is to accurately estimate the number of homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless in rural Alberta,” says a media release announcing the project on Thursday.

“The information collected will help determine community needs and plan future strategies.”

The project will include the City of Lacombe, Village of Clive and surrounding rural areas.

The count is billed as one of the largest co-ordinated rural homelessness data collection projects ever completed.

ARDN developed a process to estimate homelessness in 2017 that will be used for this project. It is known as the “population estimation” method and and it is used to capture those who are living in unstable housing situations by using survey data gathered through service agencies.

“This data highlights the number of people who use the services within a particular pre-defined time frame, giving an estimate of the number of individuals who are homeless within each service area.”

A dozen community partners have already agreed to participate in the project and help collect data. Lacombe’s project was one of 14 across Alberta receiving a grant of $5,000 for the initiative. City of Lacombe has provided $1,000 to the project.

A project lead will work until mid-December. The lead will work with the community task force, providing training to participating community agencies as well as overseeing the collection and input of data that will go to a Government of Alberta data centre.

Rural Homelessness Estimation Count Surveys will be available through participating organizations from Oct. 15 to Nov. 14. All participant information is confidential and non-identifying.

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