Red Deer finds no alternative temporary emergency shelter for homeless

RED DEER – Following an extensive search and a call for business opportunity for an alternate location for the temporary emergency shelter, the city of Red Deer didn’t receive any new locations and will vote whether to extend the continued operations at the Cannery Row site.

The Cannery Row site is permitted to operate until Sept. 30, 2021 and is currently meeting the needs of a large portion of those experiencing homelessness in Red Deer.

“The search and call for business opportunities has resulted in only one viable option for the temporary emergency shelter, and that location is a lease opportunity at the current Cannery Row site located in Railyards,” said Sarah Tittemore, Community Services General Manager.  “Administration has not been able to find another viable lease option for the temporary emergency shelter, if council doesn’t want to pursue the lease option, we’ll need further direction on alternative options.”

During their May 26 meeting, council approved funding for mitigation strategies in the Railyard neighbourhood. Approved is more than $41,000 for a plan that includes tactical implementations such as enhanced business and resident engagement, security, cleaning and new programs such as a safe walk program. Also approved was up to $8,500 to cover business license fees in 2022 for businesses located in Railyards area.

“So far, administration has been working with local organizations and businesses to successfully implement several of these approved tactics, including establishing a Downtown Business Association Community Liaison, enhanced DBA Clean Team service levels and increased night security patrols in the Railyard Neighbourhood,” said Tittemore. “We are also working with Red Deer Crime Prevention Centre to conduct a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design analysis to improve the site design and find out what more we can do to reduce crime in the area surrounding Cannery Row.”

On Monday, June 21, Red Deer council will receive an update on the temporary emergency shelter site selection for administration to pursue securing a temporary site for temporary emergency shelter provision until a permanent site is operational.