Being homeless can happen anywhere, including rural Alberta. Albertans in rural and remote communities will have increased access to supports and services that prevent and reduce homelessness, with the awarding of $2.4 million in federal funding over five years to the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN).
The funding comes through the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy. It aims to stabilize the lives of homeless people for the long term, move them into permanent housing, and provide supports for underlying issues such as addiction and mental health problems; all with the ultimate goal of helping them achieve self-reliance.
“The Alberta Rural Development Network is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Government of Canada on initiatives that combat homelessness in rural and remote Alberta. By working directly with smaller communities to address their unique issues, we can help homeless and at risk individuals be more successful in their own communities,” said ARDN Executive Director Dee Ann Benard.
ARDN, in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Regional Advisory Board, has developed criteria and a submission process for projects to be put forward by eligible communities and organizations across the province.
Submissions will be reviewed on an annual basis and funding allocated by ARDN. All recipients will be required to report on their progress and results.
ARDN received a previous federal grant of nearly $450,000 in 2013, allocated to homelessness projects in seven communities (Camrose, Cochrane, Fort Macleod, Chestermere, Drayton Valley, Brooks, and Banff). These projects were completed by March 2014, and along with other initiatives, help showcase ARDN’s ability to successfully manage complex funding programs.
“Each community has its unique needs and issues, and develops its own solutions to overcome them,” said Benard.
“Our approach is to provide support to bring their ideas to reality. When we launched our first call for submissions, we were surprised at the immense need in rural Alberta. Now with more funding over a longer period, we should really start to see some substantial results.”
ARDN is a not-for-profit partnership of Alberta’s 21 public colleges, universities and technical institutes working together to enhance the quality of life in rural Alberta through research and learning. Visit www.ardn.ca to learn more.