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Learn more about ending homelessness in Grande Prairie

Grande Prairie is working with the province to end homelessness in the next five years, and the city is seeing some major progress.

Community Homelessness Initiative Supervisor Katherine Sheppard says they’re seeing more empty beds at Rotary House, and a major drop in the number of intake and assessment drop-ins.

“At one time we had a waiting list of 57 people waiting for intake and assessment, and currently, as of today, we are down into single digits. The length of stay in shelters is changing, and I think the shift in what we’re doing is starting to make an impact.”

Sheppard says they aim to have people out of the homeless system and into housing within three weeks.

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Every year, the City’s Community Social Development department hosts an interactive event  on the theme of “It Takes a Community to End Homelessness”, for residents to learn more about the role they can play in ending homelessness by the province’s goal of 2019.

The first step is often addressing misconceptions.

“Often times, people assume, “give them a job, give them a house and they’re good to go,” explains Sheppard. It is so much more than that, and what our Homeless Initiative is doing is connecting them to a support worker up to a year, that helps them work through some of those other things alongside of just getting them housed.”

The event is set for tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Pomeroy Hotel, and Assistant Deputy Minister Susan Taylor with the Ministry of Human Services will be speaking.

Admission is by donation to the food bank.

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