Red Deer City Council will be implementing a diversion plan and securing a temporary solution while the permanent housing site is being built.
“Our primary goal is to end homelessness in our community, and there are a lot of partners required to make that happen. Today, we directed administration to develop a diversion plan to reduce the overall number of people accessing emergency housing services,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “We are working closely with the Province to get shovels in the ground next Spring to begin construction of a permanent emergency housing site in our community that will not only provide a shelter for those in need, but the resources to get them to a place where they can be housed permanently.”
Council approved two key recommendations as a step towards solving the emergency housing crisis in Red Deer including:
- A diversion plan to reduce the overall number of people accessing emergency housing services, in alignment with the Community Housing & Homelessness Integrated Plan (CHHIP).
- Direction to bring forward a Land Use Bylaw Amendment to provide temporary emergency housing service at the Cannery Row site for two years for Council’s consideration within three weeks. A date was set for consideration of First Reading on December 6.
“Although the subject of temporary emergency housing has been very public in our community for more than a year, members of Council will go into the Public Hearing with an open mind, and we hope that members of our community and businesses will do the same,” said Mayor Johnston. “In our experience, when considering any amendments to our Land Use Bylaw, the public hearing process can be both emotionally and mentally draining. We will be hearing both support and opposition with personal and professional experiences, and Council will take every piece of the equation into consideration when making our decision.”
In 2019, the Provincial government announced $7 million to fund a permanent shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by The City and the Province in November 2020 that outlines mutual intentions for a quality, purpose-built shelter. The location of the permanent site has not been determined.