City looks to set up monthly dialogue with frustrated homeless population
Tents and items outside of the Rotary House in Grande Prairie, April 2019. (Kristin Dirom)
The City of Grande Prairie is looking at holding a monthly dialogue with members of the homeless population, and social services programs to carve out better solutions to their ongoing needs.
This comes just days after two members of Grande Prairie’s homeless population approached city council with growing frustration of a with a lack of affordable housing in the city.
“We’ve committed to doing a monthly meeting with not just them, but we’re probably going to try and strike up a forum for what we call lived experience, with users of various social services and people who are experiences some of those challenges,” said Protective & Social Services Director Chris Manuel.
Manual adds they hope the forum concept will yield results, but says it’s not for a lack of trying by social agencies across the city.
“We maintain really close relationships with those agencies right now, but I think the missing link is at times, sometimes the communication between the clients of those agencies get muffled along the way. So, the last thing I want to do is plan a project that is not going to be utilized or meet the intent.”
One of the speakers at the council meeting, Cameron Murie, said the tipping point for those he speaks for came after what he called another bylaw raid on the tent city near Rotary House. He alleged that bylaw officers had begun disposing of people’s personal property, including ID’s.
Grande Prairie City Council has also since ordered an oral report into the camps outside of Rotary House to be delivered at the next appropriate standing committee.