Roughly 45 people may need to search for a new place to sleep. After a recent inspection, the province has told the emergency shelter at Grande Prairie’s Rotary House that it must drop its nightly population by that amount to get back to its maximum capacity.

Homeless Initiatives Supervisor Katherine Schmidt credits much of the overcrowding this winter to an increase in drug use and a higher than normal transient population coming into Grande Prairie. The number of homeless people countedwent up by 80 per cent between 2016 and 2018 and the city had the highest fatal opioid overdose rate in the province in 2017.

Schmidt says the City of Grande Prairie will do all in its power to help Rotary House users find a place to stay.

“We’re going to work with Rotary House; we are going to work with them on coming up with a plan for the individuals that are staying there. It’s going to be a process.”

That process begins, according to Schmidt, with finding out if the people affected have any other means.

“Are there individuals that are new to Grande Prairie that have resources, you know, family or community support where they could go stay somewhere else other than the shelter?”

MyGrandePrairieNow.com has reached out to both the provincial government and Rotary House numerous times for clarification on what timeline has been given by Community and Social Services. Neither has commented as of Friday afternoon.