Red Deer city council to consider new direction for homeless shelter project

A new path toward building a permanent homeless shelter in Red Deer will be discussed Monday by Red Deer city council.

A new path toward building a permanent homeless shelter in Red Deer will be discussed Monday by Red Deer city council.

After four proposed shelter sites proved unsuccessful, the council decided in March that it would not consider any more potential locations for a new shelter until the government clarifies what it intends to build.

The Council has previously expressed its desire to have a permanent shelter offering comprehensive services, including housing, mental health services and other supports directly inside the shelter.

But the provincial government hasn’t fully explained what its vision is for the project, or who will operate it, Mayor Ken Johnston said.

Johnston met with provincial government officials last month to discuss the possibility of proceeding with the development of the shelter in a new way – possibly by issuing a call for expressions of interest.

Reviewing various requests for interest from potential shelter operators in Red Deer would provide a better understanding of existing options for shelter models before council considers other sites, says a release from the city.

“Citizens have told us it is difficult to support the location of a future shelter in Red Deer without understanding what it will be,” Johnston said. “Our community wants to understand what services a future shelter could provide and how it will fit in.” with our community.

He added: “We have sought a different path in this process, and the Issuance and EOI can help the City Council and our community better understand existing options related to operators and operating models. We want to understand the Alberta government’s vision for a future shelter in our city.

Since the Government of Alberta is responsible for providing shelter, this would be a provincial expression of interest.

Johnston’s meeting with the Alberta government on next steps for the project included Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services Jason Nixon, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Dan Williams, Red Deer MP -North Adriana LaGrange and Red Deer North MP Jason Stephan.

“Red Deer city council and administration continue…to remain committed to the project, as outlined in the current memorandum of understanding between the city and the Government of Alberta,” the city’s statement said.