The head of the Grande Prairie Mobile Outreach Program says engagement with members of the community continues to rise, with third-quarter statistics giving an insight into the scope of homelessness in Grande Prairie.
Program Manager Chelsea Frizzell says between July and September, the program was dispatched to 1,524 calls for service, there were also 18 encampments responded to and dismantled, with 19 people present during that same period.
Frizzell says one number that may seem high, 16 individuals identified as new to homelessness, is something that they hope will offer up more of a window into an ever-changing situation.
“This is actually something we have started new to our tracking, before we were just asking if they were experiencing homelessness and we had one solid total,” she says.
“We thought it would be good to identify people who are new to experiencing homelessness and trying to get an idea as to was it COVID-19 related, did something personal happen, or what the case may be so we could help direct them to the right resources,” she adds.
Frizzell says they also saw 56 new individuals make use of the Mobile Outreach Program services, however, she believes that number comes with a bit of a caveat.
“Seems like a shocking number, however, the majority of new faces we do see are often being discharged from hospital, so they might come in from another community, do their assessment or whatever needs to be done, and are discharged with no way to get back home,” she says.
“They’re often referred to us to help facilitate that transportation,” she adds.
Frizzell says during the three months of the third quarter, 179 needles were also picked up off the streets of Grande Prairie and disposed of properly.