Three homeless shelters may be allowed in Leduc

The Leduc and District Emergency Shelter Association appealed to council to allow homelessness support shelters to be run out of churches

The Leduc and District Emergency Shelter Association appealed to the City of Leduc council to amend a bylaw to allow homelessness support shelters to be run out of churches at its Sept. 28 meeting.

However, presenters were told a report on the matter is already forthcoming from administration.

Association chair Susan Perry says there have always been homelessness resources available through the shelter but she does not feel those efforts alone are enough.

Three churches have come forward to offer space for shelters and Perry is hoping to open a program through the Leduc and District Emergency Shelter Association; intake to the shelters would still take place through the association.

Perry told councilors the association worked with 30 people in different stages of homelessness by the end of August this year, 45 people last year and 44 people in 2013.

“I’ve been asked before ‘how many of these people you’re seeing are transient’,” said Perry. “My first response to that is what does it matter?”

Perry says in the past Leduc has been able to send people to other cities such as Edmonton to receive the resources they need. However, she is finding so many individuals are connected to their community they will not even accept a free bus ticket to elsewhere for help. “This is something new the city’s never really had to address before.”

Perry says there are similar programs running in other communities already, including Drayton Valley. “Their struggle is volunteers, which I’m sure ours will be as well.”

“I’m not here to ask for money, I’m here to ask for your support in amending bylaws,” she added.

“The care of our citizens rests with our city. I just want to commend you for that passion,” said Coun. David MacKenzie.