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
- 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.