Local governments are launching a collaborative study to learn about rural housing instability and homelessness and develop locally-driven solutions. 

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) from the County of Grande Prairie and the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith, and Wembley have partnered on the ‘Getting to the Root of Rural Housing Insecurity’ initiative to gather community feedback on the topic of housing insecurity and homelessness in our rural communities.  

“We are just beginning to understand the reality of housing insecurity across our region,” said Kathleen Turner, FCSS Director for the County of Grande Prairie. “For rural communities, it is not simply an issue of people living on the street. Those who struggle to pay their rent, spend a major portion of household income on housing, frequently move and need to stay with friends or relatives may all be dealing with housing insecurity.”  

During the 2020 Rural Homelessness Estimation, 42 of the 52 residents surveyed identified as homeless or housing insecure. 

Residents, especially those who have previously experienced or are currently experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, and social service providers are encouraged to take part in the opportunities for community consultation to share their thoughts. Centerpoint Facilitation will host two in-person consultation sessions:  

  • Thursday, January 20, from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Beaverlodge Community Centre located at 1014 – 4 Avenue in Beaverlodge 

  • Tuesday, January 25, from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Wellington Resource Centre located at 10407 - 97 Street in Clairmont 

The open-house sessions will focus on individual discussions without a formal agenda. No registration is required, although room capacity will be monitored, and masking and physical distancing will be required following provincial COVID-19 regulations. Those who prefer a virtual option are encouraged to contact Centerpoint Facilitation to arrange a one-on-one conversation. 

Further feedback will be gathered in an online survey following the in-person sessions. Access the survey from January 26 to February 8 at www.countygp.ab.ca/ruralhomelessness

Following the consultation, the project partners plan to develop a local task force made up of those who have experienced housing insecurity and local service providers, to support the development of safe and effective solutions.   

More details about the Getting to the Root of Rural Homelessness Initiative are available at www.countygp.ab.ca/ruralhomelessness

 
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Media Contact: 

Coree Ladwig 
Adult and Senior Programming Team Lead,
County of Grande Prairie FCSS 
780-532-9727