City Council and local agencies continue to advocate to the provincial government for long-term solutions to meet the needs of Red Deer’s vulnerable population.
Officials say this includes a 24/7 shelter with on-site support services including daytime support services, harm reduction strategies, permanent supportive housing, residential treatment and affordable housing options - something Red Deer currently does not have.
The Province of Alberta has yet to commit any support or funding to the purpose built shelter project, the City says.
In the meantime, officials are reminding citizens experiencing homelessness that other services are available to help them stay safe and warm when temperatures reach extreme cold levels, and during other times of need.
The Daytime Warming Centre located at Safe Harbour (5246 53 Avenue) is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily during winter months (November 1 until March 31).
Overnight support services include the People’s Place Overnight Shelter (6002 54 Avenue) located at The Mustard Seed, which is open 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., 365 days per year with facilities for 46 sober people to spend the night.
The Mats Program Overnight Shelter located at Safe Harbour is open from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m., 365 days per year. It is an overnight emergency shelter for 26 people who are under the influence of substances. Twenty additional temporary overflow spaces are available if more than 26 are needed, from November 1 to March 31. The Mats program provides a supervised environment for its guests who are extremely vulnerable on the streets and in the elements.
City officials say these support services are in place for persons experiencing homelessness to receive basic support – escaping the elements to stay warm, dry and safe, and for connecting to trained staff to help clients navigate the system of housing and supports and find more permanent housing.
Citizens are reminded to take extra precautions when temperatures drop. Watch for cold related symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.
(City of Red Deer)
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