Report touts housing benefits

Housing the homeless in Red Deer greatly reduced their impact on justice and health systems, statistics show.

Housing the homeless in Red Deer greatly reduced their impact on justice and health systems, statistics show.

The city’s 2014-2015 Homeless Initiatives report released on Thursday indicates that incarcerations were reduced by 92.5 per cent, court appearances were cut by 59 per cent and interactions with police fell by 51 per cent for the homeless once they had permanent housing.

Days in hospital dropped by 79.4 per cent, interactions with EMS (emergency medical services) fell 60 per cent and emergency room visits declined by 53 per cent.

Reductions were determined by comparing interactions 12 months prior to housing and post housing since April 2013.

“First and foremost, it’s about the health and well-being of the individuals being housed. They are healthier as a result of being housed through housing first,” said Scott Cameron, the city’s social planning manager, on Thursday.

The data also shows how the investment into ending homelessness reduces costs to justice and health systems, he said.

“I think that is important information for the province because they are the funders for those other systems for the large part.”

In 2014-15, city programs received a $3.1-million grant from Alberta’s Outreach and Support Services Initiative and $421,528 from the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

Some of the programs that received funding were the housing first program at the former Buffalo Hotel operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Red Deer Housing Team with Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Shelter, Safe Harbour Society’s housing programs, Red Deer Native Friendship Society’s housing first and prevention services, and McMan Youth Family and Community Services Association’s Arcadia Youth project.

Housing results for the city showed a total of 581 individuals were housed or received continued support from the previous year in their housing between April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015.

A total of 192 new individuals were housed or received housing supports during that period.

Cameron said it does take a community working together to bring about change and the many Red Deer agencies working on homelessness have made the city a leader in Alberta.

“They are very interested in supplying the information, gathering the information, learning from that information and looking at ways to improve supports and services to end homelessness. Without that type of can-do attitude, we wouldn’t be where we’re at.”

Elsewhere in Central Alberta, the City of Lacombe and Central Alberta Youth Unlimited were scheduled to receive funding on Thursday to establish a locally supported housing initiative for youth at risk of homelessness, under-education, under-employment and addictions.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Everybody Loves a Sale

Dozens of people wanted a chance to scoop up some discounted Canada Winter Games merchandise

Red Deer County posts big surplus

2018 operating budget came in with $5.8 million surplus

PHOTOS: 2019 Canada Winter Games Asset Sale in Red Deer

The Canada Winter Games Asset Sale runs until 7 p.m. on Tuesday… Continue reading

Red Deer County rejects cannabis production complex

Complex was proposed for Blindman Industrial Park

Slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Now that the viral craze surrounding the Instant Pot has quieted down… Continue reading

Millennial Money: There’s more than one way to slay a debt

The saying that debt is easy to get into and hard to… Continue reading

Bianca Andreescu’s win streak ends after early exit because of injury

MIAMI — The injury bug has derailed Bianca Andreescu’s impressive run. The… Continue reading

CONCACAF teams to learn Nations League draw on Wednesday in Las Vegas

Canada will learn its next CONCACAF Nations League opponents at Wednesday’s draw… Continue reading

Alanis Morissette announces pregnancy in Instagram photo

Alanis Morissette is pregnant with her third child. The Grammy-winning singer posted… Continue reading

“MLB The Show 19” allows video gamers a chance to relive baseball history

TORONTO — From Babe Ruth’s debut as a pitcher to Jose Bautista’s… Continue reading

Canada Revenue Agency tax services back online after ‘hardware’ problems

OTTAWA — The websites Canadians use to file their taxes online were… Continue reading

Roof structures failed before Radiohead stage came down, inquest hears

TORONTO — Metal structures meant to hold a roof over a stage… Continue reading

Most Read