Daytime Support Services

Red Deer’s homeless population has limited options when it comes to use of washrooms, cleaning themselves up, doing laundry or storing their belongings.

There are currently limited daytime support programs for those experiencing homelessness in Red Deer. Red Deer’s homeless population has limited options when it comes to use of washrooms, cleaning themselves up, doing laundry or storing their belongings. Not having access to these amenities, or a place to go, leads to an increased number of people being in public areas during daytime hours with all of their belongings. In some cases, it can also result in human waste left on public and private property. As a result, The City is responding to issues stemming from this lack of support; however, funding and programming related to daytime support services is a provincial responsibility.

The numbers:

  • Berachah’s Place, a daytime support services site that served approximately 40 clients daily, closed in October 2014 because of safety concerns and a lack in funding to continue operations.
  • Last year, on average, the temporary Winter Warming Centre (WWC) saw 73 clients each day, a significant increase from the average of 58 the year before.
  • There were over 13,000 visits to the temporary Winter Warming Centre from November 2017 to April 2018, which is a 38% increase from when the WWC started in 2014/15.
  • In 2017, The City of Red Deer stepped in to fund and support the temporary WWC as there was a lack of shelter space/options in Red Deer.
  • Those accessing the temporary WWC used it for more days during the season last year than ever before.

Current Actions:

  1. A temporary winter warming centre operates on the Safe Harbour site between November 15 and April 30.
  2. Agencies that provide meals to those in need include Potter’s Hands, the Mustard Seed and Seventh Day Adventists.
  3. Daytime support services are provided through Safe Harbour for those who are too intoxicated or ill to be outside during the day.
  4. There are public washrooms at City Hall, the library, Sorenson Station and the recreational centre.
  5. The Downtown Public Library and some local businesses allow people experiencing homelessness to charge their mobile devices/phones and access washrooms.
  6. In 2016, Centennial Park public washrooms closed because of public safety concerns related to needle debris and hazardous materials. Sorensen Station public washrooms are operational but not always open because of maintenance issues.
  7. The City funds the DBA Clean Team to clean up waste from the streets and alleys downtown every morning from 6:30 a.m until 2 p.m.
  8. City playgrounds and downtown parks are thoroughly cleaned by City crews on average, once per month.
  9. Individuals can use washrooms in public recreation facilities, and can access showers for a fee of $2.

Long-term strategies:

  • Red Deer City Council continues to request that the Province develop long-term solutions for Red Deer’s vulnerable population, including a 24/7 shelter with on-site support services, harm reduction strategies, emergency housing, residential treatment and daytime support services. At this time, the Province of Alberta has not committed any support or funding to this project.

In October 2018, The City considered the Community Housing and Advisory Board’s reallocation of $300,000 in funding for the purposes of immediate daytime support services in Red Deer. However, this is a temporary solution, and The City of Red Deer continues to call on the Province for funding of a 24/7 shelter with on-site support services.