The County of Grande Prairie, in partnership with the towns of Beaverlodge, Wembley and Sexsmith and the Village of Hythe, launched a project today that will count the number of people living in our rural area who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homelessness.
The County FCSS department is leading the project with support from local agencies. These organizations will encourage individuals and families that are accessing their services to complete a short and anonymous survey. The intention is to discover if the people who are accessing their services live in one of the participating municipalities and fit the definition of homelessness.
“Homelessness is often hidden within our rural communities; but, through our supporting agencies, we find more individuals at risk of losing their housing due to economic situations, rather than individuals on the street or living in areas not meant for human habitation,” said Lisa Watson, Family Community Support Services (FCSS) Child, Youth, Family and Community Team Lead. “We hope this estimation captures the experience of these individuals and provides information to determine which resources are needed most in our rural communities.”
There are four categories of living situations homelessness counted in the estimation including: unsheltered individuals who are living entirely on the streets; those living in emergency shelters like the Odyssey House Women’s Shelter or Rotary House; those who are temporarily accommodated in situations like couch surfing for an extended period or are in temporary housing; and individuals or families who are not homeless but are in financial situations that put them at risk of becoming homeless or losing their house.
People residing in the County, Beaverlodge, Wembley, Sexmith or Hythe who are experiencing situations that fit these definitions are encouraged to take part in the project by visiting one of the participating agencies to complete the short survey. County FCSS is also asking residents and community groups in the area to share information about the project and to encourage people who fit the definition to take part.
Agencies who are participating in the project include the FCSS departments in Sexsmith, Beaverlodge, Wembley and Hythe; HIV North Society; Grande Prairie Seniors Outreach; Alberta Supports Grande Prairie; Rotary House; Odyssey House Women’s Shelter; Sunrise House; Grande Prairie Family Education Society and the Wellington Resource Centre.
For more information about the Rural Homelessness Estimation Project visit www.countygp.ab.ca/ruralhomelessness or contact County FCSS at 780-532-9727.