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Council allocates $625K to establish shelter program

Cold Lake council has dedicated $625,000 to establish a shelter program for homeless and unhoused people in the City of Cold Lake.

With colder weather and snow on the way, council has made the choice to dedicate land and funding to help prepare a site in preparation for the use of homeless and unhoused people in the city.

The dedicated land at 4716 40 Avenue and the funding required to prepare the site have been provided by council. Site preparation is estimated at around $300,000 while a used work-camp facility constructed out of trailers has been found for roughly $325,000.

“We seemed to have had a significant increase in the number of people in our vulnerable population that have been living outside in our community this summer,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Our community’s social service groups have been working hard to find them the help and services they need, but a facility for a shelter program has been difficult to achieve.”

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The City will be working with the Cold Lake John Howard Society in an effort to have it re-establish its shelter program at the facility upon its completion. The John Howard Society had approvals for a shelter program but did not follow through after receiving opposition from the community.

“This project will need to go through the same approvals – the City is not exempt from its own development rules,” Copeland said. “Some approvals have already been previously established, however, we understand that this can be a difficult subject, especially in a smaller community. Council felt this course of action is our best chance of having something operational before next year.”

Due to the short timelines and resources required to establish such projects, the City of Cold Lake will lead the development of the projects. This is unprecedented funding provided by the City of Cold Lake to put up a facility to support and assist the community’s homeless and unhoused people.

“If we can get this facility up and running, we would turn to the social service community to establish a shelter program there,” Copeland said. “Of course, John Howard has experience in this field and we’ve been in talks with them. The most important thing is that once the city has a facility, we will have access to a variety of options to make sure this service is provided in our community.”

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