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Tackling The 'Big City Issues' : Houseless/Homelessness

Tackling The 'Big City Issues' : Houseless/Homelessness

While I want Spruce Grove to have the small community feeling, we CANNOT ignore the 'big city issues' that happen when you get to be this size of a municipality. So how do I plan to tackle them?


My response/stance on homelessness is simple: it is important and we need to do more.  That is easy to say… so how do we do that?

In the last four years I have been fortunate to sit on the boards that look to address and find solutions for residents and families who are struggling with social issues.  We do have homelessness and we also have many people/families who are on the verge of homelessness.  We need to address the current and also make sure we keep others from getting to that point.

One board I have been blessed to represent Spruce Grove on is the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy.  This board is a representation of all Cities in Alberta in which we meet to discuss and work on joint strategies to improve social issues in our communities.  This board works together to advocate to both Provincial and Federal Governments to assist us in these issues.

I believe WE need to take action and offer a hand UP not just a hand OUT. Having said that, we also need to approach every scenario from a "meeting them where they're at" standpoint, and recognize that in some cases, the hand up looks very different from one person to the next.

Currently, I have been asking administration to present to council so we may have a better understanding of how our FCSS department works with/facilitates our grass root organizations like Neighbourlink, Pay Forward Kindness and Parkland Food bank to name a few.  I believe, in our community we have many people/groups doing great things however there may be overlap, duplication and things being missed.

The executive director of the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village presented to our Inter-City board and this concept prompted me to be better and take action on these issues.  The St. Albert Community Village even has showers and laundry facilities for homeless clients.  They give them a light meal, as well as prepared food to take with them when they leave.  The clients are welcome to use the facilities, and they’re expected to continue to meet with one of the community liaisons to discuss housing options.

I have heard from administration as well as members of the food bank and rotary that we are looking into a similar concept.  As Mayor I will continue to encourage our administration to ensure we are working with all the key stakeholders in order to provide the best hand UP we can.  This is a priority for me.  As a Girl Guide leader we always tried to leave a place better than we found it.

I also sit on the Meridian Housing Foundation in which I will continue to advocate for affordable housing for seniors as many are living below the poverty line.  I could go on and on about how much I want to see how we deal with these issues and would love to have coffee and chat more on this.  Give me a call 780-995-1522 or email me at hello@electchantal.ca