County FCSS evaluating impacts of COVID-19 on rural housing
A sign in the County of Grande Prairie (Erica Fisher, MyGrandePrairieNow.com staff)
Officials with Family & Community Support Services in the County of Grande Prairie and partnering municipalities have partnered up in an effort to get a clear picture of housing instability and service needs across rural communities in the area.
Starting Friday, October 16th and running until November 15th a survey will be administered by social service providers including food banks, FCSS offices, and shelters.
“We learned a tremendous amount about local housing instability from the pilot project, which took place in 2018,” says County FCSS Child, Youth, Family, and Community Team Lead Melodie McCracken. “This year, we are eager to understand more about the impacts
of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing security in our rural communities.”
McCracken says the term “stability” can cover a wide range of people in rural areas, who tend to get less attention than their counterparts in urban areas across Alberta. She adds they’re hoping to get a grip on a handful of key questions.
“We are looking at housing and stability, the capacity to afford where you’re living, are you actually living in an overcrowded situation… or maybe being a paycheque away from not being able to pay your rent.”
McCracken says in the 2018 pilot, 57 of 71 individuals surveyed reported that their housing situation was “unstable”, adding that they could easily lose their housing, or that they were unsure about their housing stability.