June 20th, 2024

Council candidate focusing priorities on housing and community spaces

By Tim Kalinowski on June 23, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski Lethbridge city council candidate Jenn Prosser hopes to help foster a greater sense of community and prioritize housing if elected this fall.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

City council candidate Jenn Prosser says two of her main priorities if elected this fall would be to grow community spaces and to tackle the housing issues in the City of Lethbridge.
“The amount of work done on a person to person level by individuals and service organizations in our city is incredible, but it also highlights the need for civic leadership and for city council to take leadership on the root of some of these issues,” Prosser says. “When people are talking about crime, or the concerns with unhoused folks having nowhere to go, what we are talking about is poverty. And we know when poverty decreases, crime decreases. We know when poverty decreases people are able to meet their needs and get help if they are struggling with addiction.”
In that regard, she believes it is the role of city council to help advocate and champion for more affordable and transitional housing.
“Addiction is a mental health issue,” she says. “It is a healthcare issue fundamentally; so at the City, what I am running on, and what I believe in, is looking at how as a city we can push the province to address these healthcare issues and make sure these folks have the opportunities to find recovery spaces, or engage in harm reduction practices, and the space to do that healthcare work. Then the City can take leadership on prioritizing transitional housing with wrap around services as a first step. Because if you are unhoused, you can’t get a job. It is really hard to apply for AISH or income support if that’s the case. So we need to get folks into a safe place, but a safe place that fits their needs.”
A U of L political science graduate, Prosser is currently executive director of the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group, and is a former organizer with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and former parliamentary assistant and national campaign chair for federal NDP representative Niki Ashton. But what finally motivated her to run for city council in Lethbridge, Prosser says, is her work with the COVID-19 Community Support Group she founded to help out local residents suffering though the pandemic with acts of love and kindness.
“I founded and co-administer an online Facebook group to support one another,” she explains, “and it grew to 5,200 people really quickly. I have been so blown away by the kindness and the love that has been shown by friends and neighbours to complete strangers across the city. It really inspired me to run for city council so I could continue doing that kind of work, supporting one another, and our neighbours, and our friends, throughout the city at council.”
It is that same sense of compassion, co-operation and unity Prosser hopes to bring to city council this fall if elected.
“Everyone runs because they want to do good work here,” she says. “Everyone runs because they believe in how great Lethbridge is. I love this city; that’s why I am running. So we need (as a council) to work together. Sometimes our paths might be different, the way we look at things might be different, but we need to communicate. As someone who has worked with a lot of different organizations where there are many moving parts, as someone who has worked in environments which are intense, and fast, and policy-driven, I know the most important piece of that is talking. It is having conversations. We may not always come out with an agreement, but we can likely come out with a path forward that meets both needs.”
Prosser says her main capital spending priorities when elected would be implementing the City’s vision for its Civic Commons Master Plan downtown and growing community spaces where all the peoples of the city can meet and come together as friends.
“I love the parks here,” she confirms. “I love going to Henderson Lake. I love walking in the coulee trails. We come to Gyro Park four or five times a week. So I want to invest in parks and community spaces.”

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