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County offers support for daytime shelter funding

The County of Grande Prairie has joined in the fight to secure funding for a daytime shelter in the city. At a county council meeting on Monday, Reeve Leanne Beaupre agreed to write a letter supporting the Saint Lawrence Centre and Project Lead Jared Gossen in their ask for provincial funds.

“Council felt that it was a very worthy cause that they were doing but that it’s very underfunded. It relies on support from some provincial grants, some donations in the community or fundraising that they do… Council felt that it was an opportunity for them to throw themselves behind that and support their ask.”

Since 2015, the Saint Lawrence Centre has been running a day program out of the Rotary House. Last October, Gossen asked the city for its support in asking the province for an operating budget of $350,000 a year for staffing costs and services. A letter from Mayor Bill Given was sent to the Minister of Community and Social Services a month later.

When the day program first started, Gossen was used to seeing around 30 people a day; now he says its closer to 100. He says in order to keep the shelter running it’s important to get this funding.

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“If homelessness continues to increase at this rate, if adverse effects around overdose continue to increase at a rate in our community, we’d really just need some core support.”

Beaupre says her letter is expected to go out sometime next week. In the next few weeks, Gossen also plans to meet with the MD of Greenview to get their support as well.

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