Safe Harbour Society runs its daytime warming centre and overnight mat program for people facing homelessness who are intoxicated or under the influence to the former Cannery Row Bingo. (Contributed file photo)

Safe Harbour Society runs its daytime warming centre and overnight mat program for people facing homelessness who are intoxicated or under the influence to the former Cannery Row Bingo. (Contributed file photo)

Safe Harbour crosses fingers that downtown shelter can stay

City council to give motion first reading Dec. 6

Safe Harbour Society is thrilled there’s another chance to keep its temporary downtown homeless shelter open beyond February.

On Wednesday, city council unanimously decided to consider allowing the shelter at Cannery Row to continue to operate for two more years until a permanent shelter is built.

“That would be fantastic. That’s going to help us exhale for sure until that permanent site is ready,” said Safe Harbour executive director Kath Hoffman.

Administration will bring back a motion at the Dec. 6 council meeting to extend the shelter’s operation and also develop a plan to reduce the number of people who are on the brink of homelessness so they don’t end up at the shelter.

If the motion passes first reading, a public hearing will be held in January.

Related:

‘We’re up against a wall’: Red Deer city council to consider keeping shelter at Cannery Row for 2 years

Hoffman said she hopes the proposal will make it through the public hearing.

Safe Harbour’s case was put forward at two previous hearings by city administration. In both hearings, council determined the temporary shelter would have to relocate outside of the city’s core after complaints about social disorder, crime and loitering in the downtown.

A report by city administration presented to council on Wednesday indicated no other viable site options were available.

Hoffman said council’s discussion was encouraging. Staying put is the best solution, and makes good economic sense.

“I say that without disregarding all of the impact on the businesses. I totally empathize with what those businesses go through. We go through the same thing.”

She said there’s got to be more ways to help businesses. Recent mitigation strategies like extra cleanup and having a liaison to improve communication between businesses and community agencies have already helped the neighbourhood.

“We’ve been communicating through public hearings rather than together in the community. That’s what we need to change, and I think people are committed to doing that,” said Hoffman about opening up discussion with businesses and the community with the assistance of the city’s administration team.

Related:

Red Deer agencies grateful for funding to help homeless

The former Cannery Row Bingo was turned into a temporary daytime warming centre and overnight mat program for people facing homelessness who are intoxicated or under the influence when COVID-19 struck in spring 2020.

An emergency order currently allows the temporary emergency shelter to continue operating until Feb. 15, 2022.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HomelessSafe Harbour Society