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City approves distribution of provincial funding for homeless initiatives

The city has given approval to the distribution of nearly $7.3 million of provincial funding for homeless initiatives.

Several agencies, ranging from the Canadian Mental Health Association to Centrepoint Facilitation Inc., have been name the beneficiaries of that money.

Homeless Initiative Supervisor Katherine Sheppard says one recipient is YMCA Northern Alberta, who will be working with residents in the CAIRN on the Boulevard.

“So it’s going to be really going in there and starting that relationship with tenants in the building, doing an assessment as to what their needs are, and then proceeding to provide some supports in the building.”

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However, there was some contention over that project.

CAIRN owner and operator Brad Cameron says he would have liked to see those dollars go directly to the building, rather than being funneled through an agency.

“When I toured a number of buildings across Canada and the western US, I saw that the most successful groups and agencies have had the supports tied to building owners and operators, and that’s the model that I was hoping to try to emulate.”

There were some concerns raised from council as well about how the Community Advisory Board had chosen each beneficiary through the RFP process.

Sheppard says the CAB has made the Request For Proposal process as transparent and fair as possible.

“If anyone feels that the process isn’t fair and equitable there’s always a grievance and appeal process. The end result, as far as the scoring goes, is that the highest rated successful proponent is the one that is recommended for funding.”

The money is going towards seven different projects for outreach services and strategies to help end homelessness in Grande Prairie over the next two or three years, depending on the project.

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