January 19th, 2021

Mustard Seed’s plans presented to CIC


By Lethbridge Herald on December 7, 2020.

A rezoning proposal letter to neighbouring residents indicates the Ramada on Mayor Magrath is being considered as the location for a permanent housing facility operated by The Mustard Seed. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com
The Community Issues Committee of city council heard a presentation from community group The Mustard Seed during Monday’s meeting about the organization’s plans to open a 24-hour sober shelter and a separate permanent supportive housing facility in Lethbridge.
While neither the City nor the organization publicly confirmed the proposed location of the proposed supportive housing facility during the CIC meeting, a copy of a rezoning proposal letter obtained by The Herald from The Mustard Seed and architect Alvin Reinhard Fritz to nearby residents confirms the location the group is looking at is 1303 Mayor Magrath Drive South: the current location of the Ramada by Wyndham.
A petition opposed to the rezoning has already been launched at Change.org and has thus far garnered about 1,900 signatures. The information presented on the petition seems to have some inaccuracies.
According to information provided by The Mustard Seed spokesperson Byron Bradley on Monday, the proposed sober shelter would be a 24/7 facility located downtown at a separate location to the Ramada. It would be a 45-bed facility, and that would be a drop-in centre.
The Ramada location would house 86 residents on a permanent basis with wrap-around onsite, support services, such as advocacy services, employment coaching and counselling, and would not be a 24-hour drop-in centre as the petition states.
Bradley said The Mustard Seed is still awaiting funding from the federal government’s Rapid Re-Housing Fund.
“It is still in process,” he confirmed. “We have applied for funding through the federal government’s Rapid Re-Housing initiative. We are in that process right now. It could be many different locations, but we are waiting to hear back about that application and that funding, and then we will be able to get more details to the community.”
Bradley said whenever his organization has set up at a new location it takes a while for the community to warm up to the idea but, he explained, The Mustard Seed has a strong track record of being a good community partner. He told council earlier the organization does not allow loitering, for example, outside its premises, and it does not take in those who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at its shelters. The permanent housing facility would not be a “transitional,” home, but a permanent home for those The Mustard Seed houses where they can stay the rest of their lives, stressed Bradley.
“We have heard about some backlash and negativity in the community,” he explained. “As we said in council chambers, we have to earn the respect of this community. Respect is not given; respect is earned. We want to be transparent and have a multi-faceted community engagement process, and we have begun that — just the first baby steps. We are ready for that challenge, and are excited to work hand-in-hand with whatever communities we are located in.”
The Mustard Seed has been doing this type of housing for over 36 years, and has good relationships with all the communities it currently works in, Bradley stated. He looked forward to enjoying a similarly strong relationship with its neighbours in Lethbridge.
“One of the important things is to make ourselves accessible,” he said. “Anyone that has concerns, as often as possible, we will make ourselves accessible to those concerned citizens that might have questions. And getting very involved in the community as well.
“During my presentation in council chambers, I talked about getting on the community association in the neighbourhood where we are located in Red Deer. We are also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce in Red Deer. And last year, we were nominated for non-profit business of the year. Those awards and things like that come our way because of hard, collaborative work with the community.”
CIC chair Deputy Mayor Rob Miyashiro said council had a great opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, The Mustard Seed during Monday’s meeting. Council, he stated, would look forward to hearing more as the organization takes its next steps in the community.
“The Mustard Seed has a plan,” he said; “so you get the vulnerable population, you give them a place to live, and you backfill that with some support services. It’s probably the only way our vulnerable population will actually make it — if they have those support services in place. So hopefully when this gets up and running, The Mustard Seed will be able to fulfil that promise.”
Miyashiro says it does add to council’s confidence that The Mustard Seed has already enjoyed great success in the other communities it has served.
“If you don’t do it properly then it is just another dumping ground for people who don’t have anything else,” he said. “I think that is the really important thing for people in this community to remember: if The Mustard Seed does this program the way they have described, the outcomes will be a lot more positive than we might have seen in other different circumstances in the past. There have been some organizations that provide great supportive housing, and have had great outcomes, and there have been some who haven’t done so well. What I like about The Mustard Seed is they are not a fly-by-night operation. This isn’t their first kick at the can. The Mustard Seed has been around a long time.”
For more information on the Mustard Seed in Lethbridge view The Herald’s story from last week visit https://lethbridgeherald
.com/news/lethbridgenews/2020/12/04/mustard-seed-to-open-sober-shelter/.
To hear more details about the Mustard Seed’s Ramada permanent supportive housing proposal visit https://www.alvinfritzarchitect.com/the-mustard-seed.
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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jonbacc

Sounds promising – especially if they have a no loitering and no drug policy!

Citi Zen

LPS cannot enforce loitering laws….. this is going to be another total disaster for Lethbridge.

Dogknox

My concern to this idea is: The The Mustard Seed will use the facility as a “Dumping Ground” keeping it full with 86 residents from Calgary! It will NOT benefit Lethbridge; it is a BUSINESS like any other, they will make more money keeping it full! Once established it will become permanent never ever going away it is NOT something Lethbridge will be proud of: “Lethbridge; the city with the largest imported homeless population!” Why do we want to surround ourselves with these people that contrubute NOTHING to Lethbridge? Ask Medicine Hat or Coaldale if they would welcome the facility with open arms? Why us?!

Fescue

You don’t think there are enough people in Lethbridge who need a hand up to fill this place? Is it not time to accept the reality that there are a lot of people in need in our community? Maybe time to grow a heart?

ewingbt

Build it and they will come . . . I said the same about the SCS and they came from neighbouring communities. This is an effort to resolve the issues created by the SCS. The problem is they will come from other communities and the taxpayers in our community with then be paying even more . . . we paid tens of millions from the SCS, just to have our streets now over-run by addicts who do not want homes and just want to do their drugs and wreak havoc in the streets.
The existing shelter is not operating at capacity! We do not need 86 more beds . . . we do not need 40 more!
Where are the people coming from to fill the facility? From all the neighbouring communities? From other cities the Mustard Seed operates in?
We have capable local services that we should be supporting, some of which were trained by the Mustard Seed and it is a slap in the face to them, who have put in years of service to this community, to bring this organization to this city!
Another bad decision by this Council who continues to destroy this once beautiful, clean city that many who visited, wanted to retire here!
Guess who appears to be at the forefront . . pro-SCS Councillor Myashiro, who unprofessionally degraded two Council members in Chambers for standing up for the citizens impacted by the SCS, in a meeting regarding the SCS! Here we go again . . . he is trying to ram another organization down our throats!
We do not need this organization here, we need collaboration between existing organizations and police that have the teeth to deal with the addicts that party all over our streets downtown and are allowed to because of their ethnic origin!
When will the citizens of this city stand up for their city and say we have had enough!!!! We do have a say . . . when????
We need to support our local organizations and get our government to give police the tools to get these vagrant addicts off our streets and stop the open drug use, drinking, sexual acts, urinating, defecating at business doorways that they are allowed to do!
They can’t get away with it in Standoff or Brocket, but we let them to it here?? How can you think Reconciliation when our streets are used as toilets, garbage cans, and areas to commit crimes to pay for their drugs??
Build it and more will come . . . .

buckwheat

Have no fear Miyashiro won’t listen to anyone. He is the smartest one in the room, small room. Here is an example of what is happening in Red Deer. The presenter from the Mustard Seed yesterday at the CIC was slightly embellishing how wonderful they were in Red Deer. At least the RDNews now has the stones to publish it.

https://rdnewsnow.com/2018/08/27/riverside-meadows-residents-fed-up-with-illegal-park-activities/?fbclid=IwAR39JkIwp02dmrzX-9m2jYT5mg2ROH17PCc-2xxSZtUeV5CUa9Xlg5J3YVk

pursuit diver

Interesting read for all if you look at Buckwheat’s post!
The same propaganda was spread for the SCS, but will people wake up and see what is about to happen to this community.
Council appears to be on track of making Lethbridge the ‘hub’ for addicts and the homeless! They are not increasing taxes because of the upcoming election, but sooner or lated the bills have to be paid!
We will continue to have to pay millions to support all the people on the streets and watch the devastation of our city and if you are not sure, please follow Buckwheat’s link from Red Deer. I have heard similar issues from other cities regarding the Mustard Seed operations and all the smooth talk that still continues, that offend the citizens near them since their concerns are not being considered.
The present sitting city council appears to want to give this city away to all the homeless and addicts in Southern Alberta. The people that are footing the bill should be ones that have a say in this matter, but this council never listens to the public. Remember, it was the Alberta Government that had to shut down the Safe Consumption Site, that the citizens of this city did not want! We will only see change once we see this sitting council sent packing in the next election. How much more damage will be done in the mean time is uncertain!!

Seth Anthony

Fescue said, “Time to grow a heart”?

Perhaps Fescue, maybe it’s time for you to grow objectivity and stop ignoring the point that everyone else is talking about?

The point isn’t about your incessant and incorrect accusations of people not having a heart or compassion. Yet, whenever this topic arises, your M.O. is to keep resorting to that erroneous appeal to emotion logical fallacy (just like so many others do).

The point, is the addicts who are allowed to harm society and continuously victimize innocent people with impunity. PERIOD.



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