Five organizations receive funding to fight homelessness

Alex Di Pietro
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Recent funding for five local organizations will help to house and educate the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless, River Bank Development Corporation (RBDC) manager Brian Howell said on Friday at city hall. 

River Bank Development Corporation manager Brian Howell describes five projects being funded to fight homelessness. 

As part of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), more than $273,000 in federal funding has been distributed by the RBDC among the P.A. Community Housing Society, the Prince Albert Literacy Network, the Prince Albert Share-a-Meal Food Bank, the Salvation Army and the YWCA of Prince Albert.

“You can see three really different themes through these grants,” Howell said. “First is the construction of new housing, which the P.A. Community Housing Society will be doing … There’s also an education theme with the Literacy Network.

“And finally, there are the kitchen renovations and office renovations that we’re doing. It just represents a recognition of the fact that non-profit organizations that provide services to homeless people need infrastructure,” Howell added.

The Share-a-Meal Food Bank will use $75,000 to renovate its facility and the Salvation Army $33,500 to renovate its kitchen. The P.A. Community Housing Society has been afforded $40,000 to complete preliminary work required for construction of a four-plex housing unit.

As well, the Prince Albert Literacy Network will use $25,000 to develop an education package with information regarding an individual’s right as a tenant and tips on budgeting.

At the YWCA, $100,000 will be used to upgrade office space in an effort to improve the organization’s ability to provide services and ensure it has the potential to expand.

“Over the years, we’ve expanded the number of beds. We started out by having 25 beds, and now we’re over 100 beds at two locations,” YWCA Prince Albert CEO Donna Brooks said. “But we haven’t had the office space and the infrastructure to offer the clients the proper service.”

The announcement comes during Homelessness Action Week in Prince Albert.

Also, in attendance on Thursday were RBDC board chair Merv Bender, Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback, Mayor Jim Scarrow, MLA for Prince Albert Northcote Victoria Jurgens and representatives from the other organizations.

“These are not small contributions we’re making to these organizations that are being recognized today. They are major,” Scarrow said.

The HPS, which took effect in April 2007, is a community-based program that is meant to prevent and reduce homelessness. It provides direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada.

“We can all agree that homelessness is a complex issue. It varies from one region to the next and it requires the co-operation from all stakeholders and all levels of government,” Hoback said.

Homelessness Action Week wraps up Saturday with an annual food drive at the Share-a-Meal Food Bank.

Organizations: Prince Albert, P.A. Community Housing Society, Meal Food Bank Salvation Army RBDC board

Geographic location: Canada

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