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Fort Macleod groups receive federal funding

Two Fort Macleod organization were among 12 to share in $3.7-million from the federal government’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

The Alberta Rural Development Network last week announced the Foothills Centre in Fort Macleod will receive $459,106.

Fort Macleod Family and District Community Support Services gets $387,772 for its Fort Macleod Housing and Community Connects project.

The Reaching Home program is a new five-year federal homelessness prevention and reduction strategy to help Alberta’s rural and remote communities provide people with increased access to services that prevent and reduce homelessness and housing instability.

“These projects will be the only projects operating outside the major cities in Alberta that provide direct support to people struggling with housing instability or homelessness.” said Jonn Kmech, director of homelessness initiatives at the Alberta Rural Development Network.

“Rural homelessness is an under-recognized problem, often because it is hidden and includes examples such as couch-surfing, living in overcrowded or unfit housing, or living in vehicles.”

“Because of this, rural communities have significantly less access to resources than larger urban centres, which creates a service gap,” Kmech added. “While these programs will provide much-needed relief to several new communities and allow some long-time projects to expand their focus, there are many towns and smaller cities across the province that need help but did not receive funding due to a lack of available resources.”

The Alberta Rural Development Network received 33 applications from groups asking for more than $12-million from the Reaching Home program.

“As in the past, we were overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the need in rural Alberta,” network executive director Dee Ann Benard said. “The chosen projects demonstrate committed communities and organizations applying home-grown solutions to their unique issues.”

“We are already seeing communities learning from each other and working together to address the needs of people who are homeless or at risk. We look forward to working with these project proponents and seeing the results of their good work.”

The Foothills Centre, which recently marked its 40th anniversary, is a social detox that will operate five transitional beds for individuals with addictions who have completed the detox program and are waiting to access in-patient treatment.

In addition to offering a safe environment, the program also provides life skills, psycho-education group sessions and community volunteering opportunities.

The Fort Macleod Housing and Community Connects project is designed to prevent homelessness and reduce housing instability for families, individuals and youth.

The project will connect people to housing and appropriate services and strengthen agency partnerships to support a more effective network of wrap-around services.

“This funding is important to Fort Macleod as it will enable us to employ a housing liaison worker who will assist families and individuals to secure housing and link them with appropriate services to stabilize their circumstances,” FCSS director Angie O’Connor said.

“This dedicated person will work on strengthening partnerships with local and neighbouring community agencies as well as delivering community workshops that respond to community and client’s issues.”

Other grants awarded through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy included:

• $300,862 to Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre.

• $225,840 to MD of Greenview FCSS.

• $404,805 to Mountain Rose Women Shelter Association in Rocky Mountain House. 

• $454,547 to Vulcan Regional Food Bank Society.

• $204,300 to Camrose Open Door Association.

• $290,052 to Hinton Adult Learning Society’s Freddy’s Resource Room.

• $359,450 to the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Banff.

• $22,500 to the MD of Opportunity No. 17. 

• $337,500 to Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

• $256,000 to Strathmore Overnight Shelter.

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