The Town of Stony Plain is pleased to be moving forward with Phase II of the Poverty and Homelessness Reduction Strategy. Council approved funding for this next step, Building a Community Response Strategy using a Housing First Philosophy, with $32, 625 at Monday night’s regular Council meeting. Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) proposed the dollars be provided by the Housing Block Fund, a provincial grant.
Council heard the results of Phase I, which was a needs assessment study conducted in partnership with the University of Alberta, at the last regular Council meeting on September 14th. Janine Peter, Director of FCSS, says “This study puts a face to homelessness and poverty in our Town to give a clearer understanding of the issue,” she goes on to say, “We know homelessness pretty much can effect anyone; however, the most vulnerable in our community are the youth between the ages of 16 and 24, those fleeing domestic violence, single mothers, and those identifying as Aboriginal or Metis.”
The data collected also revealed…..
- 20% of the general public who participated in the survey say they know someone who is currently facing homelessness in Stony Plain
- 19% say they know someone at risk of becoming homeless in the near future
- 12% indicated they had either been homeless or at risk of becoming homeless at one point in their lives
Peter goes on to say, “Homelessness does not look the same in Stony Plain as it does in Edmonton or other major cities. You may not be seeing someone pushing a shopping cart around, but what you may be witnessing is someone couch surfing, or someone living in his or her car, living in a camp ground, or in someone’s basement on a temporary basis. Being homeless is much more hidden in our Town than what you would see in a big city.”
Phase II of the project will focus on sharing the results of phase I with the community and stakeholders, to create a discussion and to develop a formal response strategy in accordance with a Housing First Philosophy. A temporary full-time project coordinator will be needed to complete this phase by the end of the summer of 2016.
Phase III will be the implementation stage. The timeline on this is September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2019. It is hoped with all the data collected in Phase I and the plan derived from Phase II, FCSS will be able to obtain dollars needed to address poverty and homelessness in the Town of Stony Plain. Peter says, “What this money will go towards, we don’t know. That’s the point of this three stage process. Perhaps we’ll be looking at a youth shelter, or women’s shelter, or something more generic. We just don’t know right now. One thing I can say is we do need more affordable and accessible housing in Stony Plain.”
In the meantime, if you or someone you know is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please contact FCSS at 780.963.8583 and currently located at the Town Office.
For more information, contact:
Stephanie Barsby Boisvert
Corporate Communications Officer
Town of StonyPlain
Director of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS)
Town of Stony Plain