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Recognizing that homelessness is a complex issue that requires a multi-dimensional, community-based solution, the City of Grande Prairie aims to utilize the unique nature of Grande Prairie’s economy and community resources to end homelessness by 2019. Grande Prairie sits as part of the 7 Cities Network who are committed to supporting the Provincial Plan to End Homelessness.

Grande Prairie will celebrate success when we have a system of care that provides the following:

  • Prevention and Diversion programs to support people at risk of becoming homeless through the provision of short-term emergency supports
  • Appropriate, permanent housing options with needed supports, within a three week period for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness in Grande Prairie

Ending Homelessness in Grande Prairie is unique in that we must anticipate and overcome a cyclical resource-based economy where periods of low vacancy and unemployment are punctuated with high vacancy and unemployment.

According to the Canadian Homeless Research Network, homelessness is defined as:

  • Describing the situation of an individual or family without stable, permanent, appropriate housing or the immediate prospect, means and ability of acquiring it. It is the result of systemic or societal barriers, a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, the individual/household’s financial, mental, cognitive, behavioural or physical challenges, and/ or racism and discrimination; and
  • Most people do not choose to be homeless, and the experience is generally negative, unpleasant, stressful and distressing

The types of living conditions that constitute homelessness are varied and can include:

  • Unsheltered, or absolutely homeless and living on the streets or in places not intended for human habitation
  • Provisionally Accommodated, referring to those whose accommodation is temporary or lacks security of tenure; and
  • At Risk of Homelessness, referring to people who are not homeless, but whose current economic and/or housing situation is precarious or does not meet public health and safety standards

As in the rest of Canada, there are certain sub-populations within Grande Prairie that are more vulnerable to experiencing homelessness, including:

  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Youth aging out of foster care
  • Single parents
  • Families living in poverty
  • Newcomers to Grande Prairie
  • People impacted by family violence
  • Seniors
  • Active substance users
  • Individuals with mental illness and/or chronic physical health conditions

Supports for these individuals and families takes a wide variety of forms and can include provision of emergency beds, safe and secure interim housing, staffed and supported housing with daytime supports and/or permanent supportive housing with 24 hour supports in place.

2009-2014: The Past Five Years in Review

Grande Prairie’s first Multi-Year Plan to End Homelessness was created in 2009. It set five broad goals for collaboration and integration of programs and services at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

An evaluation of the plan concluded significant progress has been made in the following areas:

  • 833 people experiencing homelessness were served via Housing First programs
  • The success rate of the program has increased from 18% in 2009 to 81% in 2014
  • Aboriginal clients, who constitute 40% of all Housing First clients, are 20% more successful in the program

View a full evaluation with a full detailing of the results here.

2015-2019: The Plan and Accountability

In 2015, the Grande Prairie Five Year Plan to End Homelessness 2015-2019 was approved by City Council.

The plan was developed over a year-long process that included community consultations and surveys among populations who have lived experiences with homelessness. It provides a strategic framework for eliminating homelessness in Grande Prairie, including an accountability model for meeting goals.

The four main goal areas of the 2015- 2019 plan are:

  • Increased infrastructure
  • Strong, cohesive, integrated community partnerships
  • Strengthened community resources
  • Education and awareness  

Year 1 Report Card

The first year of the 2015-2019 plan saw progress made in all four goal areas. Highlights of the successes include:

  • 210 people housed
  • 13 program graduates (participants who have maintained housing for at least 6 months)
  • 93% of participants maintained their housing
  • Development of a Designated Unit pilot of housing specific to Housing First participants
  • 10 new landlords became part of Housing First’s network, bringing the total number to 40
  • A Transitional Supportive Housing Pilot for individuals with complex needs began at Rotary House
  • An ID Program was created to assist individuals experiencing homelessness to obtain and store identification
  • A Housing First Specialist and Research and Evaluation Analyst were added to the Homeless Initiatives team
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness were consulted for feedback and evaluation of multiple programs

Read more on the outcomes and accomplishments of the 2015-2016 year here.

Year 2 Report Card

Continued success was seen in the second year of the plan. Some key points are listed below:

  • 147 individuals moved from homelessness into housing
  • 42 program graduates
  • 92% of retention rate of participants maintaining housing
  • Increased infrastructure with 5 Designated Units (DUs) specific to the Housing First program, 12 Permanent Supported Housing (PSH) suites and availability of the City’s first Youth Transition House
  • Formation of the Lived Experience Committee, a subcommittee of CABH, to discuss issues and supports directly with individuals who have experienced homelessness
  • Hosting of the first annual Healing Hearts Memorial to recognize individuals that have been lost due to homelessness in the community
  • Completion of the fifth Point in Time Count of homelessness

View more by reading the full report, available here.

Year 3 Report Card

2017-2018 included many highlights such as:

  • Housing First
    • 94 people housed
    • 61 program graduates
    • 92% retention rate
    • 92% of participants demonstrated self-sufficiency via stable income within 6 months of entering the program
    • 56% reduction in use of emergency medical services, 63% reduction in visits to the ER and 71% reduction in interactions with the police among participants after 6 months in program
  • Grande Prairie’s Housing Loss Prevention program supported 207 people in stabilizing or improving their housing
  • 7 youth received mentorship and support through a youth transition house
  • ‘Voice for the Voiceless’ lived experience committee assisted with planning and analysis in addressing community needs

The full report is available here.

Last updated: 7/4/2018 10:12:01 AM