Municipality Looking to Develop A Plan to Fight Rural Homelessness

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Municipality Looking to Develop A Plan to Fight Rural Homelessness

A new homeless plan is being developed to combat the issue in the rural communities.

Last night, Wood Buffalo council held a special meeting where they allocated over $4.2 million, from the federal and provincial governments to six non-profits for projects aimed at fighting homelessness.

Shortly after the Rural Coalition spoke about the lake of supports in the hamlets, a motion was also put forward and quickly approved for administration to develop a first of its kind rural plan and count.

Spokesperson Ron Quintal tells Fort McMurray News they’re hoping this means they will start to see the same types of supports in these communities like you would in Fort McMurray.

“So we need to not only get them a warm place to sleep but we also need to get them the supports they need to be able to overcome whatever addictions or issues that they are facing and in the rural communities we just don’t have those supports.”

Development in the hamlets is also a big problem as many are finding it hard to find available land.

Quintal says the lack of supports and development has led to an epidemic in these communities.

“You have three families living in one unit, people living on top of each other, people couch surfing in absolutely every community, nowhere to go.”

He adds the plan is not to take away from the supports or programs already in place in the urban sector. They’re looking for an expansion or a way to ‘compliment the services.’

“A large population of the homelessness in Fort McMurray are Indigenous people and a large portion of those Indigenous people come from rural communities and they’re pushed to be homeless because of the fact that there are more programs and more services available in the urban sector.”

Fort McMurray’s 10-year plan to fight homelessness expires in 2020. The hope is to have a collaborative plan for all communities by this time.
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