Rural Homelessness Estimation Project

The County, in partnership with the towns of Beaverlodge, Wembley and Sexsmith and the Village of Hythe, are working together to reassess rural housing needs.

In 2018, we partnered with the Alberta Rural Development Network to assess rural housing instability and homelessness with rural residents. We found that homelessness looks different than it does within urban centers. It requires a unique approach to gather the data and to address the issue from the rural context.

In 2018, the initial estimation gathered feedback from 71 individuals living locally in rural communities. Of those, 57 reported that their housing situation was “unstable,” that they could easily lose their housing, or that they were unsure about their housing stability. 

In 2020, it's important that we collect new information to better understand how rural services are being accessed and the impact COVID-19 may be having on housing stability.

Between October 16 and November 15, 2020, the County is working with local agencies to gather data about individuals using their services as well as housing stability through a brief and anonymous survey.

Surveys can be accessed by connecting with one of our partnering agencies specified below or the County of Grande Prairie FCSS. They can be completed over the phone with an agency provider, in person on paper, or online with a unique code obtained through the agency.

Why is estimating rural housing instability important?

An accurate estimate of the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our communities:

  • Data collected will help social service providers better understand and address identified gaps within communities
  • Survey insights will also help identify the demand for housing in local rural communities, including type and quantity, as well as the kinds of services and resources residents need which are not available to them or they are not accessing

  • Informs programs, projects, and policies from local, provincial, and federal government
  • Increases awareness of rural homelessness in our area and across the province
  • An accurate estimate of the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our communities:
  • Acts as a measure to track progress made in reducing homelessness in the future
  • Allows each municipality to provide information to local agencies to improve community services
  • Helps to secure funding to enhance resources available for community members to prevent and reduce homelessness

Participating Agencies:

  • Beaverlodge FCSS

  • Elmworth Library

  • Hythe FCSS

  • Family Education Society

  • Grande Prairie Friendship Centre

  • Grande Prairie Seniors Outreach

  • Grande Prairie Youth Emergency Shelter, Sunrise House

  • La Glace Library

  • Odyssey House Women’s Shelter

  • Rotary House

  • Sexsmith FCSS

  • Society for Support to Pregnant and Parenting Teens

  • Wellington Resource Centre

  • Wembley Foodbank

  • Valhalla Library

County of Grande Prairie Family & Community Support Services’ participation is funded in part through the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home program and administered through the Alberta Rural Development Network. They also support similar estimation projects across the province to help develop an understanding and increase awareness of the issue of rural homelessness. 

The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) has released reports outlining the findings from each participating community, including the County of Grande Prairie Rural Homelessness Estimation Report

Do you have questions about the Rural Homelessness Estimation Project? Contact County FCSS at 780-532-9727 for more information.