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Prince Albert
Sunday, May 19, 2024
Home City Council Council unanimously agrees to support coordinated homelessness response

Council unanimously agrees to support coordinated homelessness response

Council unanimously agrees to support coordinated homelessness response
Herald File Photo

In an effort to begin addressing Prince Albert’s homeless problem, City Council unanimously agreed to move forward on providing coordinating support to community organizations and other levels of government.

The goal is to immediately start action on finding solutions for the recent recommendations given by Dr. Chad Nilson in the Homelessness Action Initiative report. One of Nilson’s suggestions include inviting local human service agencies and First Nations governments to participate in a Chronic Risk Forum, which already met for the first time during City Budget deliberations last week, according to Coun. Tony Head. 

“This has, I feel like, been a long time coming,” said Head.

Ted Zurakowski said the biggest challenge the City has faced over as discussions about homelessness solutions have grown is being unable to mandate other agencies into participating in these much needed discussions.

“It’s been a slow evolution to having this conversation,” said Zurakowski. “We can’t solve this ourselves, but we’re certainly going to lead the charge and invite those agencies to bring their expertise, to bring their resources to the table.”

From talking with other communities across the province, Zurakowski said they’ve learned that Prince Albert is not unique in their homelessness crisis.

“It’s the same issue all across the province and into our neighbour provinces as well. Does that mean we should just throw up our hands and do nothing?” he asked. “No, and we haven’t been and we won’t, and we will continue to do the good work that needs to be done.”

“It’s across Canada, it’s across North America, it’s across the world,” said Coun. Blake Edwards.  “As a community, we can come together and we can find solutions. I think there’s some good plans being made already.”

Edwards added that he and Coun. Head met with Premier Scott Moe and discussed homelessness, and what actions the City is taking to tackle the issue. 

“Some of the initiatives we’ve started, he liked, thought we were moving in the right direction and we certainly need the province to recognize where we’re at,” he said.

Before voting concluded, Mayor Greg Dionne mentioned that it is his intention to organize a Housing Committee as part of the recommendations from the Homelessness Action Initiative and that a report will be brought forward by him at the next regular City Council meeting.