10-year plan to end homelessness to cost $3.3B
The province has approved a 10-year plan aimed at ending homelessness in Alberta by 2019, could cost $3.3 billion.
The plan identifies specific actions and to support the creation of permanent, safe housing for the homeless.
And while the province said its committed to the $3.3 billion strategy, it won't give funding details.
"There's processes that we have to take place and for us it's budget," said Alberta Housing Minister, Yvonne Fritz.
The plan adopts a 'Housing First' approach of providing immediate housing and to provide support services such as mental health services, addictions counselling, employment training.
"I believe that we have developed a plan that can end homelessness," said Steve Snyder, with the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness.
Local outreach worker Terry Kettleson likes the province's ambition but worries it won't be easy.
"I don't think homelessness will ever be completely eliminated. It would be the perfect thing (and) I don't think that it will ever ever happen," said Kettleson.
Other jurisdictions in North America such as Portland and New York City have found the approach to be successful and sustainable over the long term.
The head of Washington's homelessness battle in the U.S. thinks Alberta's plan can achieve its goal.
"That kind of housing works. We know the retention rate in that kind of housing. It's more than 85 per cent," said Philip Mangano with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Along with the 10-year plan, the government plans to create 11,000 affordable housing units by 2012.
As of right now, Alberta has supported the development of 5,600 affordable housing units.
The 10-year plan was developed by the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness established by Ed Stelmach in January 2008.
With files from Bill Fortier