New Wetaskiwin shelter desperately needed, says business and mayor
EDMONTON -- Officials hope the opening of a new homeless shelter in a city without one hopes the facility provides much-needed relief to its homeless.
The growing need for more social services in Wetaskiwin is not more visible anywhere else than at the back of the local Castle Steakhouse, its staff say.
Round the clock, the business’ back alley is a mess of human waste, intoxication and sometimes violence and injuries.
“I can’t be inside my restaurant helping customers because I’m out here with somebody who needs help,” employee Jessi Hanks told CTV News Edmonton.
In the two years the Castle Steakhouse has been at its current location in the southern part of the city, staff have called RCMP 144 times.
“It’s hard to explain to people who don’t understand,” he commented.
“The rest of the city doesn’t really see it because it’s in such a small area. Or they choose to look past it.”
RCMP confirmed 50 visits to the restaurant since 2011, but those in the community say more than police response is needed.
Wetaskiwin’s homeless shelter, before it was closed at the old civic building, was only open for 12 hours each day.
The mayor says that will change as soon as November.
Tyler Gandam said the city is scouting locations for a new facility in partnership with a Camrose agency to provide mental health and addictions services.
“There will be a shelter,” Gandam said.
“Realizing that the shelter is just a small piece of what we need in our community, and the integrated hub we are going to have.”
Details are expected to come next month.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s David Ewasuk