Safe Harbour Society employees Tamara Oakes

Six people facing eviction as Safe Harbour comes up $50K short

Less government funding for sober and supported, affordable housing means Safe Harbour Society will have to evict six people on July 1.

Less government funding for sober and supported, affordable housing means Safe Harbour Society will have to evict six people on July 1.

Central Alberta’s Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing says it’s short $50,000 after the city reduced provincial funding the society receives to help end homelessness. As a result, the society is being forced to close one of its four houses and reduce the number of tenants to 15 from 21.

Kath Hoffman, Safe Harbour’s executive director, said it’s not about how the city divided the provincial funding among community agencies, but the fact that more money is needed to end homelessness.

“We want to provide the service we’ve been providing successfully for the last 15 years. We want to keep doing what we’re doing. We have lots of people who need us to keep doing what we’re doing,” Hoffman said on Tuesday.

Instead of helping to end homelessness, Safe Harbour had to send out eviction notices, she said.

The society’s supported housing program provides a sober environment in affordable housing for people who aren’t quite strong enough.

“They don’t feel quite sturdy enough to be on their own. They want some accountability. They want the staff to support them and the facilitator in the house to help stabilize them,” Hoffman said.

The funding cut also means clients who move out on their own won’t have access to supported housing staff who have been available to them for up to a year in the community.

Tamara Oakes, shelter triage/Safe Harbour Society housing worker, said clients feel safe in the supported housing.

“They can stay as long as they want. They’re not given a time frame to leave. It’s when they want and when they’re ready. And they have that support after to help them transition into the community on their own,” Oakes said.

The longest a client has lived at a house is five years and the shortest is about one year.

Staff help clients with whatever they need like working on goal planning, developing life skills, accessing resources or detox. Developing a good relationship with staff is also important.

“It takes a lot for our guys to build up trust in us, to be able to depend on us, and trust us that we’re there to work with them,” said Tina Scott, housing support worker.

Scott said there’s been many success stories and feared for those who are evicted.

“Lots of our guys aren’t at a spot where big change is good. There’s a chance of relapse.”

And she worried about the clients who have moved out but still need contact with supported housing workers.

“It’s leaving them high and dry and setting them up for a fall,” Scott said.

Sarah Cockerill, the city’s director of community services, said providing housing to the longest term shelter users and those sleeping outside is a new priority to help end homelessness in the city.

She said a review showed that focusing on those groups would have the most impact.

“Based on the new direction a number of agencies were unsuccessful in their RFP (request for proposal) process or saw changes to their funding that might change the way they do business. In the case of Safe Harbour, they’re an independent organization and certainly decisions to administer programs are their own,” Cockerill said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

Plenty of Family Day fun lined up in local communities

Choices abound in Red Deer thanks to 2019 Canada Winter Games

Rural crooks using drones to target properties

Drone hovering over a property in Clearwater County was reported to RCMP

Blackfalds reviewing proposal to open its own registry office

Town administration expected to report back to council in two weeks

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

Games athletes making themselves at home at RDC

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

Welcome message from the mayor

On behalf of Red Deer city council, the City of Red Deer… Continue reading

Canada avoids world’s top players in opening round of Davis Cup

MADRID — Canada has avoided a confrontation with any of the current… Continue reading

Canada’s McKeever swaps skis for tuxedo, nominated for Laureus World Sport Award

CALGARY — From a glitzy awards ceremony in Monaco to the nordic… Continue reading

Scrutiny, family woes pile pressure on pregnant Meghan

LONDON — When Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry, the American… Continue reading

It’s a girl! Berlin zoo’s baby polar bear has 1st checkup

Berlin’s Tierpark zoo says its latest baby polar bear is “a perky,… Continue reading

Local Sports: Kaitlan Linnell achieves hockey dream

Coming up through Red Deer minor hockey Kaitlan Linnell had a dream… Continue reading

Most Read