Red Deer does not have a 24/7 shelter with on-site support services that meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness in our city. This type of space would aim to help people in need of emergency shelter with space to work with them and help them find more permanent housing.

Citizens experiencing homelessness that are displaced from camps should be encouraged to reach out to a Coordinated Entry Housing Worker at either of the following:

  • Safe Harbour Society (5246 53rd Avenue)
  • Women’s Outreach Society (4101 54th Avenue)

At this point, we would encourage citizens requiring shelter to be aware of the following shelters:

  • People’s Place Overnight Shelter located at The Mustard Seed (6002 54th Avenue)
  • Mats Program Overnight Shelter located at Safe Harbour (5246 53rd Avenue)
  • Daytime Warming Centre located on Safe Harbour Site (5246 53rd Avenue)

The numbers:

The 2018 Point in Time homeless count results were:

  • 144 people counted were experiencing homelessness
  • 86 were staying in an emergency shelter and 19 were unsheltered
  • 82 per cent reported using an emergency shelter in the past 12 months
  • 17 per cent were youth under age 25 and 1/3 were female

In 2017 Safe Harbour served the following:

  • 410 people accessed Day Support at Safe Harbour, which serves the most vulnerable in the community who are either too ill or too intoxicated to be outside all dayNot having 24 hour emergency shelter in the community makes this program necessary.
  • 535 people were sheltered at People’s Place, which is an overnight emergency shelter for 35 adults who have no other means available to them. The capacity increases to 46 during the winter.
  • 526 people accessed the Mats Program, which is an overnight shelter for 26 adults who are under the influence of substances.
  • 536 unique clients visited the Winter Warming Centre 13, 148 times (17/18 Winter).
  • The WWC operates from November 1 to April 30 and its purpose is to keep the homeless people from freezing to death outside during the winter months.

During the 2017/18 fiscal year Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter (CAWES):

  • Received 1,194 requests for shelter stay
  • Served 484 women and 213 children (an increase of over 200 clients over the previous year).
  • Highest bed occupancy was in February 2018 (97.6% occupancy) and this continues to be the busiest month for residential clients; an average of 4-6 clients access basic needs (shower, hygiene, harm reduction supplies or food staples) on a daily basis. Capacity at the facility is 40.

Current Actions:

  • In 2016, City Council leveraged $100,000 in provincial funding to launch a purpose built shelter study in 2017. No funding announcements have yet been made by the Government of Alberta.
  • Four shelters are available in Red Deer including Safe Harbour, People’s Place, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter (CAWES) and Youth HQ. Each of these provides a variety of services from overnight emergency shelter to winter warming services.
  • On July 27, 2018, Mayor Veer, on behalf of City Council, reached out to local MLA Kim Schreiner to inquire about available funding for a 24/7 shelter with on-site services. At this time, the Province of Alberta has committed no support or funding for this project.

Ongoing Strategies:

  • Red Deer City Council continues to request that the Province fund and support a 24/7 shelter with on-site support services that include 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.
  • Following letters to local MLAs and the Minister of Community and Social Services about shelter and daytime support needs, Mayor Veer and members of City Council then met with the minister at the Alberta Urban Municipality Association Conference In September 2018.

Provincial funding is needed for a 24/7 shelter with on-site services in Red Deer. City Council has and will continue to call on the Provincial government to secure this funding.

What can you do? Write a letter to your local MLAs.

Write a letter to your local MLAs and call for support and funding of a long-term treatment centre/options in Red Deer. Health is a provincial responsibility, and we need all orders of government to work together to find solutions.

Ms. Adriana LaGrange (UCP)
MLA for Red Deer-North 

Constituency Office
202, 5913 - 50 Avenue
Red Deer, AB  T4N 4C4

Phone: 403-342-2263

Mr. Jason Stephan (UCP)
MLA for Red Deer-South 

Constituency Office
201, 4327 - 54 Avenue
Red Deer, AB  T4N 4L9

Phone: 403-340-3565