New council appointed to focus on ending homelessness in Alberta
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 5:46PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 6:30PM MST
Four years into its ten year plan to end homelessness, the province is touting efforts made so far, but has appointed a new council tasked with guiding Alberta through the next phase of the plan.
The province said Thursday that more than 6,600 homeless Albertans had been provided with housing and supports since the plan launched in 2009 – and more than 1,600 are living independently, after graduating from specialized ‘Housing First’ programs.
Those statistics came as part of a progress report from the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness – which also suggested a community-based council be created.
In response, on Thursday, Premier Alison Redford announced the Alberta Interagency Council on Homelessness, or IAC, had been appointed.
The IAC is made up of community members, agencies and municipal leaders – among them, is the former head of the Edmonton YMCA.
Franco Savoia has 40 years of experience under his belt, and is looking forward to serving on the council.
He said he feels like the province has finally heard the call to help Alberta’s homeless.
“We’ve got to bring all the voices around the table to make this 10-year plan, ultimately, very successful,” Savoia said.
The 33-member council is co-chaired by PC MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, and Savoia – and will focus on preventing homelessness, and finding strategies and ways to provide specialized supports to homeless Albertans.
“Nominated by community agencies, partnering communities, and government, the diverse experience and perspectives of council members will ensure a truly engaged community, and continued support for ending homelessness in Alberta,” Human Services Minister Dave Hancock said in a press release.
However, some are concerned as money could become an issue in achieving the province’s 10-year goal – a concern that’s growing for some as the province hasn’t committed money to the project.
Hancock told CTV News Thursday that the province had planned to continue to budget for housing and program delivery.
That plan has made Mayor Stephen Mandel wonder if the province can indeed deliver on their plan.
“It still comes down to, you have to fund it,” Mandel said, adding that he likes the new model, but the solutions will come at a cost.
With files from Susan Amerongen