Council focuses on long-term solution to housing and homelessness
“Our primary goal is to end homelessness in our community, and there are a lot of partners required to make that happen. Today, we directed administration to develop a diversion plan to reduce the overall number of people accessing emergency housing services,” Said Mayor Ken Johnston “We are working closely with the Province to get shovels in the ground next Spring to begin construction of a permanent emergency housing site in our community that will not only provide a shelter for those in need, but the resources to get them to a place where they can be housed permanently.”
The City works in partnership with community and government partners to build and implement a responsive, sustainable and well-performing housing and homelessness response that is informed by evidence-based research and best practice. Since given direction from Council to develop a list of site purchase options for a temporary site, great efforts have been made to try and find an alternative site involving commercial realtors and requests for proposals. The list of sites was narrowed from more than 80 possibilities and it resulted in only one viable property: Cannery Row. These decisions will help the community to prioritize permanent shelter
Among the decisions today, Council approved two key recommendations as a step towards solving the emergency housing crisis in Red Deer:
- Directed administration to develop a diversion plan to reduce the overall number of people accessing emergency housing services, in alignment with the Community Housing & Homelessness Integrated Plan (CHHIP).
- Direction to bring forward a Land Use Bylaw Amendment to provide temporary emergency housing service at the Cannery Row site for two years for Council’s consideration within three weeks. A date was set for consideration of First Reading on December 6.
“Although the subject of temporary emergency housing has been very public in our community for more than a year, members of Council will go into the Public Hearing with an open mind, and we hope that members of our community and businesses will do the same,” said Mayor Johnston. “In our experience, when considering any amendments to our Land Use Bylaw, the public hearing process can be both emotionally and mentally draining. We will be hearing both support and opposition with personal and professional experiences, and Council will take every piece of the equation into consideration when making our decision.”
The temporary emergency housing site at Cannery Row is currently able to operate following an Emergency Order put in place following the declaration of the State of Local Emergency (SOLE), which was renewed until February 15. Once the SOLE expires or is rescinded, the ability to operate at Cannery Row will also expire, leaving a gap in services for people experiencing homelessness during the winter months if an amendment to the LUB is not approved.
In 2019, the Provincial government announced $7 million to fund a permanent shelter in Red Deer. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by The City and the Province in November 2020 that outlines mutual intentions for a quality, purpose-built shelter. The location of the permanent site has not been determined.
For background information on the temporary emergency housing site, visit www.reddeer.ca/emergencyhousing.
For more information, please contact:
The City of Red Deer
City looking to help homeowners affected by flooding from June rains
City applying for disaster recovery funding to support residents affected by June rainfall
The DRP provides financial assistance for uninsurable loss and damage caused by emergencies and disasters. Following a disaster, affected municipalities can apply to the program and, if the municipal application is approved, affected residents can apply to the Province for financial assistance.
On Monday, The City will be submitting the first round of a DRP application seeking financial assistance for residents affected by ground flooding on or after June 23, 2022. The City is seeking to learn how many residents were affected by flooding to ensure the next phase of the application process has the most up to date information available.
Affected property owners are asked to contact the Engineering department to ensure the DRP application can be updated with more detailed information about the impacts of flooding. Owners can email [email protected] or call 403-342-8161 with the following information:
- Phone number
- Confirmation of the date flooding started on their property
- 1-2 photos if available
If they have not already, affected residents should first contact their insurance provider to confirm which costs will be covered, as DRP funding would only apply to uninsurable losses. Residents are reminded to keep track of all receipts related to flood expenses and are forewarned that it will take time before funds may become available. Applicants to the DRP should anticipate a site visit to confirm details as part of the application process.
In June 2022, The City reported between 167 and 182 mm of rain at different locations across the city. According to Environment Canada, from 1981 to 2010, the average precipitation for the month of June at the Red Deer Regional Airport was 94 mm.
Information and updates on the application process are available on The City’s website at reddeer.ca/flood.
More information about the Alberta Government’s Disaster Recovery Program (DRP), including the types of disasters covered by the program, is available online at https://www.alberta.ca/disaster-recovery-programs.aspx. Residents affected by ground flooding are encouraged to review the ‘Homeowner and residential tenants’ fact sheet for details about qualifying for the DRP.
Process of picking location for homeless shelter moves toward final decision August 29
Shelter site selection process moves to next phase
Two of the five phases of the site selection process are complete; this includes Phase 1: Public Engagement and Phase 2: Policy Direction to inform Process Design. The remaining three phases that lead up to a final site decision on August 29 includes the following:
Phase 3: Technical Review & Assessment Phase:
- July 13 – 22: commercial realtor to conduct site search. Two meetings were held the week of July 11 to 15 with the commercial realtor. The first was with members of administration to provide information on the site selection process and the approved matrix. The second meeting was with Mayor Ken Johnston and Deputy Mayor Lee to provide further Council perspective.
- July 22 – 25: initial technical assessment conducted by administration prior to site visits
- July 25 – August 5: site visits and enhanced technical review of short-listed sites
Phase 4: City Council Review
- August 15: City Council meeting: administrative recommendation of sites based on City Council’s policy direction through the development of its matrix.
- August 15 – 21: Additional administrative technical review of additional sites (if directed by Council)
- August 21 – 26: City Council review and evaluation using their site evaluation matrix approved on July 4, 2022.
Phase 5: Site Decision
- August 29: Council to make final decision about the future shelter site at their regular meeting using the site selection matrix as one element of the decision.
Additionally, during Phase 3, administration will put out a call for privately owned sites, through The City’s website. This call is to see if there are any privately owned sites out there that are not yet on the market, but that property owners might be interested in selling for the purposes of an integrated shelter. More information about this will be released in the coming days.
Call for privately owned properties for consideration during shelter site selection process
Private property owners who are interested in selling their site for the purposes of an integrated shelter are invited to submit their information until Wednesday, July 27.
Currently, a commercial realtor is developing a high-level property listing for technical review, but if there are any properties that are not currently on the market, they can be submitted by the property owner through an online form on The City’s website.
On June 24, 27 and July 4, Council developed and approved the Shelter Site Selection Matrix that will guide the site selection process for the future shelter in Red Deer. Below is the full matrix and definitions approved by Council:
SITE CRITERIA SUB-CRITERIA POINTS PERCENTAGES
Ability to acquire site: 20 points
Acquiring the optimum site can be done in a timely manner. Acquisition options and costs are important considerations.
Adequate size: 20 points
The size of the site considers the potential need to adjust service delivery at any given time. It will accommodate proposed integrated amenities and services. It considers the land size needed to accommodate outdoor gathering spaces and activities. The site already has a building or can accommodate a building that meets the Province’s minimum requirement of 10,000 square feet.
Adequate land size (outside/inside) 30%
Can accommodate purpose built/dignified spaces 20%
Can accommodate on-site/integrated services 30%
Future flexible/expansion opportunity 10%
Broad community impact: 24 points
The site aligns with The City’s vision for the community. Community impact includes considerations such as, impacts on economic and business development, and municipal operations. It includes potential reputational impacts and financial impacts (both capital and operating). It also includes impacts to those accessing shelter services in our community. The site considers impacts to our community as a whole, including health, and safety for all in our valued places and spaces that are enjoyed by our citizens.
Operational and Budgetary Impacts 17%
Alignment with Community Vision (Strategic Plan/Downtown Vision/Vision
Impact to City Reputation 13%
Economic Impact 25%
Safety Impacts 17%
Impacts to surrounding area: 26 points
Impacts to businesses, residences, parks, trails, and schools are a priority consideration in selecting site. The city’s reputation is considered. A preferred site can accommodate and foster development of a safe, secure shelter.
Impacts to businesses 23%
Impacts to downtown 19%
Impacts to Parks, Trails and Greenspaces 19%
Proximity to Schools 12%
Impacts to Residential Neighbourhoods 23%
Access to services & supports: 10 points
Safety and basic needs for all is a priority. Regularly utilized services and supports that would not be co-located are taken into consideration. Sites where co-located services can operationalize are preferred.
Access to transit and transportation 10%
Distance/proximity to supports/services 20%
Foot Traffic Patterns 20%
Enables delivery of 24/7 integrated service 20%
Enables delivery of basic amenities/services 20%
If you are a property owner and would like to submit a site for consideration, please fill out and submit the online form here.
For information on the future shelter site selection process, please visit www.reddeer.ca/shelter.
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