The City of Grande Prairie is looking to open a large social services centre at the site of the Stonebridge Hotel. The goal is for it to become a facility with affordable housing and services geared towards the street-engaged population.
Homeless Initiatives Supervisor Katherine Schmidt says programming plans range from onsite client care with wrap-around 24/7 support to address varying levels of need related to mental health, physical health, and addiction. She argues chronic homelessness is a key issue in the city that needs to be addressed.
“It is about time that we started looking at how we end homelessness, and not just manage homelessness,” she says. “We now have this opportunity in this unique hotel, conference centre site, three floors of housing, we have programming space, there is a commercial kitchen on-site, there is office space for social service agencies.”
The city has agreed to a conditional offer on the purchase of the facility, with a full round of public engagement, and council discussion likely before any finalized deal. The building will also have to be rezoned from its current use, with an anticipated soft opening date of August 2021.
Residents across the city are being urged to give their opinions on the potential of what’s been dubbed the Coordinated Care Campus through a pair of public engagement events. Four sessions will be available on June 2nd and 3rd, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Schmidt says it’s important to get thoughts from the community on such an expansive project but she firmly believes this could be a game-changing opportunity for the city.
“We’ve had calls from a university that is interested in partnering in a project like this as well, but I really see this as a model that not only other cities in Alberta but potentially nationally that are going to be taking a look at [it].”
Anyone looking to take part in the public feedback sessions is being asked to register beforehand.
*Editors Note: The initial version of this story indicated the city had finalized the purchase of the Stonebridge Hotel. That information has since been clarified and updated. We apologize for the error.