A report on housing and homelessness grants and funding allocations for 2023-2024 was presented to the city’s Public & Protective Services Committee meeting June 20.

The report details $5.98 million in funding the city has received from federal and provincial grants. 

“There are three funding streams in the report, those being the provincial outreach support services funding or commonly known as OSSI funding, as well as federal reaching home, which is designated community funding and as well federal reaching home indigenous funding,” said Wendy Hughes, city housing and homeless initiatives director.

Funding decisions are made through the Community Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness (CABH), which is federally mandated. 

“It is the job of CABH to ensure that priorities identified in the federal community plan and the provincial service delivery plan are met through fair and transparent funding processes,” said Hughes. The city is responsible for bringing information from several sources on trends (regionally, provincially, and nationally) along with information from training, forums and outcomes from existing programs. 

The $5.9 million is broken down with the province (OSSI) funding at $4.5 million and $831,000 coming from the federal designated funding, and $643,000 from the federal indigenous funding. 

Some committee members expressed concern with the amount of funding in transitional housing, which currently has $217,000 allocated from OSSI funding. 

Prevention and shelter diversion was also a concern, as it has federal funding of $180,000 and an additional $180,000 specifically for youth. 

“I’ve always felt for the last 25 years that we don’t put enough support to people who are at risk of homelessness,” said coun. Gladys Blackmore. 

She noted inflation is leading to more struggles for the working poor, who have to decide on whether they pay rent or buy food for their children. 

A large portion of the funding – $3.4 million – goes to supportive housing projects. 

Hughes says the supportive housing funding “equates to 148 supportive housing units, and up to 140 participants in scattered sites, as well as 31 transitional units. 

“This helps individuals and families maintain safe, stable housing, avoiding homelessness, and avoiding a return to homelessness or chronic homelessness.”

Coordinated Care Campus (former Stonebridge Hotel)

The Coordinated Care Campus (CCC), the former Stonebridge Hotel, will see $1.62 million for operating costs.

The CCC building is not yet open but has 25 tenants residing in modular units, said Hughes. 

Hughes noted the city is currently providing the service at the CCC after the ​​Northreach Society informed the city in April that it was changing its focus to healthcare support for the city’s most vulnerable and would no longer be the operator of the CCC. 

The city is still looking for an operator. 

The city says “unforeseen supply chain issues” are the cause of the delays to the opening of the CCC.

Dan Lemieux, city chief public and protective services officer, said phases 1 & 2 of the CCC construction are complete, and tenants may begin to move in mid-July.

The committee also directed city administration to bring back another report with similar information regarding Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), including historical data.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 06, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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