Bonnyville town council got a little more information on homelessness in the community. On Tuesday evening during the council’s regular meeting, Bonnyville Family and Community Support Services Director David Beale presented a report on his group’s findings on the homeless. Beale says in 2015 a project was completed and found that Bonnyville has a high number of “hidden homeless”, including people living in RVs, couch surfing and people at risk of missing rent and mortgage payments.
“These are people who are in arrears in their rent or mortgage payments and they are in fear of being evicted. They don’t have any other place to go. They don’t have any money to pay their back rent or mortgage or taxes.”
Beale says the study found that the key driver behind homelessness is psycho-social issues like mental health and addiction. As for the possibility of a shelter or social housing, Beale says that would be up to the town to provide.
“If that’s where the town wishes to go, that’s something we could assist with but it certainly wouldn’t be something that [FCSS] would take on alone.”
Beale says a follow-up study and homeless population estimation is due to be completed this summer with help from the Alberta Rural Development Network.