A major boost to help rural Alberta communities fight homelessness was announced on Tuesday.
The Alberta Rural Development Network will be distributing $3.7 million for 12 projects in 11 communities, through the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home Program.
Reaching Home was announced in 2018 and has set aside $2.2 billion to be rolled out across the country to targeted communities as part of the federal government’s $40-billion national housing strategy.
“These projects will be the only projects operating outside the major cities in Alberta that provide direct support to people struggling with housing instability or homelessness,” Jonn Kmech, the director of homelessness initiatives at ARDN, said in a Tuesday news release.
“Rural homelessness is an under-recognized problem, often because it is hidden and includes examples such as couch-surfing, living in overcrowded or unfit housing, or living in vehicles.”
The projects that will be funded are as follows:
Foothills Centre (Fort Macleod): $459,106 to operate five transitional beds for people who have completed the detox program and are waiting for in-patient treatment.
Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre (Slave Lake): $300,862 to operate a seasonal emergency shelter mat program for homeless people in the area.
Fort Macleod & District FCSS (Fort Macleod): $387,772 for community projects to help connect people struggling with instability with housing services.
Municipal District of Greenview FCSS (MD Greenview): $225,840 for the region to develop supports for individuals including running a personalized success plan to get out of homelessness.
Mountain Rose Women Shelter Association (Rocky Mountain House): $404,805 to launch a multi-year strategy to transition homeless and at-risk people into stable housing.
Vulcan Regional Food Bank Society (Vulcan): $454,547 for a Housing First strategy for the community, including initiating short- and long-term supports in the Vulcan area.
Camrose Open Door Association (Camrose area): $204,300 for supporting a rural outreach worker to connect with at-risk youth between the ages of 11 and 24.
Hinton Adult Learning Society (Hinton): $290,052 for an overnight mat program, as well as supporting a resource room for homeless people that includes showers, computer access, food, clothing and a support worker.
YWCA Banff (Banff and Bow Valley region): $359,450 for housing supports and case management.
Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17 (Central northern Alberta region): $22,500 for a homeless count and housing needs assessment.
Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (Cold Lake): $337,500 for programming for FASD clients who are at risk of homelessness.
Strathmore Overnight Shelter (Strathmore): $256,000 for renovation costs to the shelter and a full-time staff worker.
The 12 projects that were chosen were selected out of a group of 33 applications.
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