The zoning change needed to add a new permanent supported housing project has been given the green light by Grande Prairie city council, while another remains up for debate. The Helma Fletcher Building, which sits on the edge of Grande Prairie City Hall, will soon be home to 44-units of permanent supported housing within the existing 6-storey building.
While several members of the community raised concerns at Monday’s city council meeting over the possibility of an influx of anti-social behaviour if the project was approved, Mayor Bill Given says concerns about increasing social disorder, nuisance thefts, and other kinds of anti-social behaviour have come from many different areas in the community. He says the focusing of those concerns specifically on the two proposed projects, and suggesting these projects may make them worse, was challenging.
“That’s why council has made a number of steps from increased police resources, to adding our new street outreach team, to trying to make a dent in the homelessness issue, all with the intent of trying to improve people’s perception of safety in Grande Prairie.”
Given says with a long-running plan to try to eradicate homelessness in the city, the new project may go a long way in creating success for dozens of people facing some of the toughest challenges in life.
“Our idea of success in life is significantly different than many others in the community… my day to day existence, or yours, is substantially different than what is possible for many of the people living on the streets in our community. With the permanent supportive success is ensuring somebody has a roof over their head for 12-months straight.”
The second proposed project, however, will be returning to city council for further debate. The proposed 40-unit permanent supported housing development would provide professional on-site care and supervision for residents needing it at 105 Avenue and 100 Street. It’s expected the debate will continue at the next meeting of council set for November 2nd.