Gateway Gazette

$3.7 Million Awarded to 11 Rural Communities to Tackle Homelessness

Funding awarded to tackle rural homelessness and housing instability in 11 Albertan communities 

Edmonton – The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) announced today more than $3.7 million of funding for 12 projects in 11 rural Albertan communities. Through the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home program, the new five-year federal homelessness prevention and reduction strategy, this funding will help Alberta’s rural and remote communities provide their residents with increased access to services that prevent and reduce homelessness and housing instability.

“These projects will be the only projects operating outside the major cities in Alberta that provide direct support to people struggling with housing instability or homelessness.” says Jonn Kmech, director of homelessness initiatives at ARDN. “Rural homelessness is an under-recognized problem, often because it is hidden and includes examples such as couch-surfing, living in overcrowded or unfit housing, or living in vehicles. Because of this, rural communities have significantly less access to resources than larger urban centres, which creates a service gap. While these programs will provide much-needed relief to several new communities and allow some long-time projects to expand their focus, there are many towns and smaller cities across the province that need help but did not receive funding due to a lack of available resources.”

“As in the past, we were overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the need in rural Alberta. With 33 applications asking for more than $12,000,000, we had many difficult choices to make,” says Dee Ann Benard, executive director of ARDN. “The chosen projects demonstrate committed communities and organizations applying home-grown solutions to their unique issues. We are already seeing communities learning from each other and working together to address the needs of people who are homeless or at risk. We look forward to working with these project proponents and seeing the results of their good work.”

The ARDN managed the Rural and Remote stream of funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (the predecessor to Reaching Home) during the 2014-2019 period, which resulted in 32 projects being funded in rural Alberta. The list of the new Reaching Home projects, with brief descriptions, can be found below.

ARDN is a not-for-profit partnership of nine Alberta public post-secondary institutions working together to enhance the quality of life in rural Alberta through research and learning. Visit www.ardn.ca to learn more. 

This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. 

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