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Red Deer city council asks city administrators to work with province on permanent emergency shelter

A project aimed at providing permanent infrastructure so homeless and vulnerable people in Red Deer have a safe place to stay moved one step closer to becoming a reality on Monday.

The City of Red Deer issued a news release that said council has directed city administrators to work with the provincial government on a plan to outline what a future permanent emergency housing project will look like.

In 2019, the province announced $7 million in funding for a permanent shelter in the central Alberta city. A year ago this month, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the city and the province. The city said it “outlines mutual intentions for a quality, purpose-built shelter.”

READ MORE: Federal government announces $14.9M to build affordable housing units in Edmonton

“We have handed the baton over to administration to be able to take the next steps on making this a reality,” Mayor Ken Johnston said. “Our No. 1 priority as council is to get a permanent emergency housing site built and operational so our vulnerable population has a consistent safe place to go, day and night.

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“This project is absolutely critical for our community.”

READ MORE: Red Deer homeless shelter on the brink of closure

According to the city, a location for the shelter has yet to be decided upon.

Johnston said city council is advocating for an operating model that will offer “wraparound services” in addition to a shelter that “also provides them the support they need to one day be able to have a permanent place to call home.”

READ MORE: ‘Step up or shut up’: Wetaskiwin mayor frustrated over lack of help with homeless

The city said council also tasked administrators with working with the province on “neighbourhood integration strategies that will support the surrounding area” once the housing project is up and running.

“Administration is going to work with the province to lay the groundwork for a successful outcome-based operating model at the site, as well as seamlessly integrating the site into our community,” Johnston said. “The work that is done in advance of construction will help to achieve that.

“Every person is impacted by homelessness in one way or another. Supporting those who are struggling to get back on their feet is imperative to the overall success of our community — not just those who will access the services.”

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READ MORE: Group says Medicine Hat has ended chronic homelessness, as cities eye same nationwide

The city said the province will be responsible for finding a service provider to operate the shelter once construction is complete.

Watch below: Some Global News videos about homelessness in Alberta.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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