Homelessness in Morinville six times 2016 rate, report finds

by Colin Smith

Three years after Morinville’s first homelessness survey in 2016, the number of people without a regular place to sleep was up by more than six times.

In 2019, a count found that in the town 13 individuals were absolutely homeless. That is, consistently sleeping in the street or in public places. Two homeless people were identified in 2016.

There was also an increase in the number of people considered to be at risk for homelessness, up from four to 18. These are people whose economic or housing situation is precarious and who may be only “one cheque away” from homelessness.

The steady rise since 2016 suggests that Morinville will experience another increase in the number of homeless and at-risk people this year, according to a report presented by Melanie Lubemsky, FCSS/Community Program Coordinator, to Town Council at its Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday.

While the absolute numbers of people involved may not seem large, their needs are complex and demanding.

“While we cannot exactly predict the unique needs of individuals we may encounter in 2020, we can assume an increase in the growing trends of drug and/or alcohol addiction, a reduction of mental health supports and an increase in unemployment,” states the report.

Homeless and at-risk people in Morinville are provided with three types of aid—access to services, harm reduction, and outreach programs and services—by more than more than two dozen government agencies and community groups.

These range from supplying ID, meals and clothing to providing affordable housing, medical referrals and job support.

In the summer and early fall of 2019, enforcement services responded to 150 homelessness-related callouts.

The report outlines several options for developing an improved response to homelessness in the community.

These include hiring an additional professional to support FCSS and Enforcement Services in maintaining service delivery during the high-demand months.

The development of a social community mapping plan is seen as necessary to help in reducing long term issues and guiding future social planning. At a cost of up to $50,000 this would involve hiring a consultant who would provide a report to Council by the end of 2020. Funding provided through the current FCSS Provincial agreement would cover 50% of the cost.

Another requirement is transportation for clients to get to St. Albert to access Alberta Works income support programs currently only available there. Municipal funds in the amount of $1,000 would be needed for taxi expenses.

Council received the report as information.

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  1. If someone needs a ride to Alberta Works; Id gladly drive them in. I’ve come damn close to being homeless.
    It doesn’t matter whose at fault or how low/high the homeless population is; it’s unacceptable. We need to help and support one another.

  2. It seems There isn’t a government or service provider that has come up with a way to prevent all homeless ness. a Addict or alcoholic can not be forced to live in a safe place and not spend the monies they revive on there personal drug of choice. How do you help those who won’t receive it? If it’s job loss and issues around that there are more solutions.
    Will adding more community service positions solve the problem? Research on limits and what other community es have tried could set up the structure to then hire someone with a targeted approach to managing this area. Having answers to how to manage helping those who refuse to seek help or refuse a safe place to live. Maybe also Setting limitations on how to prevent risk to citizens / businesses while at the same time not stepping on rights of the homeless individuals. Lots to consider

  3. Not a surprise at all.
    It’s so difficult to even get help from AB Works because there is no location here for monthly signing. One must find a way to St Albert/Edmonton each month. This proves very difficult when you’re homeless and have no vehicle.

    • Nancy Brockway I was on AB works & reported by phone monthly , but they didn’t give me enough to live on . I was only able to make min pmt on my bills . When I was in hospital the social worker got me more ( when I had called they said I couldn’t get more ).

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