RED DEER, ALTA.—Officials are one step closer to building a permanent integrated shelter in Red Deer.
The city announced it has identified a potential location for the project. The proposed location is 4934 54 Avenue, which was originally a City of Red Deer Parks facility and is now being used for storage.
“There is still a great deal of work to be done as it relates to finalizing capital and operational plans and dollars related to future shelter services in Red Deer. Plus, the location cannot be finalized until we hear from the public on the rezoning,” said Mayor Ken Johnston in a statement. “However, getting to the stage where we can consult the public about a location is an exciting step in this process, and it will enable us, with the support of the Province of Alberta, to begin the next steps of this project as our community works together to establish a purpose-built shelter that responds to the needs of all in Red Deer.”
Current plans would be to get the rezoning approved, demolish the current structure and replace it with a new building that would offer the many amenities required to operate a successful integrated shelter that aligns with the city’s Housing First model.
“A permanent shelter has been a need in our city for years, and I am so encouraged that we have reached the major project milestones of securing provincial funding and identifying a potential location,” said Johnston. “Right now we are talking about site, but at its core, this project is about people. It is about shifting our focus to the future of an emergency shelter that provides dignity and hope for some of our community’s most vulnerable. The selection of this potential location is an exciting step in the process of addressing the issue of housing and homelessness in our city.”
The city will now focus on the rezoning and development process. During this phase the city intends to collect community feedback on the site and what the future structure may look and feel like. Public consultation will focus on the proposed new shelter use and ask for input on how this use could integrate into the neighbourhood.
“There has been extensive work done on where the permanent shelter could go, and council is confident that with receiving provincial agreement to consider this site, this is a good place to consider a future purpose-built shelter in our community,” said Johnston. “We also know continued collaboration and work with our community is critical to ensuring its success.”
The city will begin the public engagement process for rezoning in the coming weeks. The city added it will inform and work with the community to share information about upcoming consultation opportunities as the project proceeds.