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John Howard Society looking to get a grasp on homeless numbers in Cold Lake

A local non-profit society is trying to get a grasp on the homeless situation in Cold Lake. The John Howard Society of Cold Lake is a group dedicated to helping at-risk males in the community with staying on the right track through referrals and programs. Offices for the society are in seven locations in Alberta.

Leah Ferris is the Executive Director of the Cold Lake chapter, she says the Cold Lake Chapter came about after an assessment made by the area.

“Our whole basis was because we had come through a needs assessment through the city that said we needed some help for men. There was a lot of agencies that were working with women and children but nothing specifically helping men.”

Ferris presented the idea of a survey to help gauge what the city’s homeless numbers look like to Cold Lake council last night. The survey was designed by the Alberta Rural Development Network and stays confidential while still keeping a specific identifier to keep survey results accurate.

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“A few years ago they went to the seven cities in Alberta. They did this in areas that already have homeless shelters. They found out a better estimate on how many homeless they have in the cities and then they can put some funding into programs that would help those people.”

The study will have a look at four different types of homelessness; unsheltered, emergency sheltered, provisionally accommodated, and at risk homeless. The society plans to have the survey run through the month of April. Ferris says the public can help by imploring those you may know who may be homeless or near-homeless to conduct the survey. They gratefully accept donations to help with operations, more information on the group can be found by clicking here.

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