May 20th, 2024

City exploring options for emergency overflow shelter

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 3, 2021.


The Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee of city council on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution calling for administration to work with Alpha House and the province to identify options for a four-to-six month emergency overflow shelter.
The committee also called on administration to evaluate and report on the feasibility of using the Civic Curling Centre or Park N Ride as a temporary sober shelter and to explore and report on any other possible locations for such a shelter.
A third part of the resolution called on administration to develop a business case for a Community Care Campus.
Monica Loewen and Josh Marti, co-chairs of the Social Services Integration Group (SSIG) along with Director of Community Services Mike Fox, discussed with the committee the needs for a temporary overflow shelter.
SSIG has been tasked with identifying appropriate criteria and locations for social services in the city. It’s made up of community members from various sectors in Lethbridge including Streets Alive Mission, Alpha House Society, London Road Neighbourhood Association, Westminster Village Association, the Downtown BRZ, Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, Amazing Grace Community Church, Evangelical Free Church, the soup kitchen, the City and several businesses.
According to the submission presented to the committee, the Lethbridge Shelter and Resource Centre is continuing to experience outbreaks of COVID-19 and capacity has been reduced due to social distancing requirements set by the province.
While client numbers decrease in warmer weather, those numbers increase substantially when the weather worsens and recently occupancy has been as high as 251 per cent of capacity, said Fox’s submission.
The submission stated that with COVID being an ongoing problem and extreme weather likely to hit Lethbridge, the lack of shelter space is a critical issue for the health and wellbeing of the city’s vulnerable.
On Nov. 17, the province announced emergency funding to help 14 communities provide additional shelter capacity with Lethbridge being among them. Because emergency funding is restricted to existing shelter providers, that means in Lethbridge the shelter must be operated by Alpha House and be open to all clients, not just those who are sober, said the submission.
The SSIG has made several recommendations to City administration to help address concerns.
These include that administration work with Alpha House and the provincial government to identify immediate options for an emergency shelter for four to six months. It’s recommending the use of hotels and motels for up to 100 clients since these facilities wouldn’t require development permits and/or rezoning and could be operational quickly.
SSIG is also recommending that the Civic Curling Centre or Park N Ride facility be used as a temporary site for a sober shelter while a permanent site is identified.
Thirdly, SSIG is recommending administration develop a business case for a community care campus.
The submission said that since October the city shelter has been over capacity with an average of 120 clients every night with as many as 60 people sleeping rough outside the shelter and in other areas.
The submission calls on council to be open-minded about the location of a temporary shelter since future rezoning would require a public hearing.

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So this is how it works now. Put it where it doesn’t require a rezoning, ergo, we can eliminate any public discussion at a public hearing and put it wherever we like.

Seth Anthony

” The city’s vulnerable”.

Enough of this “vulnerable” BS. Ditto for the misleading “homeless” term.

We’re talking about addicts who already had a home and were kicked out because of their destructive actions, or left their home willingly. Most of the “vulnerable” and “homeless” are so by choice, and most of them continuously victimize innocent people to get their next hit. In addition, the alleged homeless (addict criminals) get a warm place to go to, free food, free clothing, etc…and all the while, they’re continuously harming people. Yes, we pay for them to do that. WTF? These addicts are ingesting noxious substances to the point of destroying themselves. Doing so means they have a mental disorder. As such, the last thing they need is enabling facilities like SCS’s. They should be forcibly confined in a treatment facility under the mental health act.

The true vulnerable, are the criminal addict’s victims, seniors, children, and disabled people. The true homeless, are those that have lost their home due to no fault of their own.

Furthermore, note how the most important aspect in all of this, is rarely, if ever, addressed. That is, where these criminal addicts are coming from, how did they become addicts in the first place, and how to stop the production of criminal addicts.

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
Citi Zen

Put it on the reserve, and let the band pay for it.


Or at least don’t close the Reserve’s SCS or OPS and other services for long periods of time ,that further sends their drug addicts into Lethbridge.

Dennis Bremner

You are watching two committee chairs SSIG chair and CSPC attempt to fast track the Non Profits idea of a Care Campus in Lethbridge. Its a rather old ploy, you use winter to accelerate the use of a building for a Sober Site. Mustard seed moves in and operates it and the next thing you know its a permanent fixture.
So as they would say when sceaming fire. An emergency on your part should not constitute a PANIC on our part. You purposely waited till the last minute to scream FIRE and now you hope to bypass any citizen consultation you possibly can! Not going to work, trust me, it ain’t gonna work.
Using Hotels and Motels, obviously the city has not learned from the disaster called Superlodge!

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
pursuit diver

You forgot about the Knights Inn as well!


And the King’s Apt on 13 Street North!


I would tend to agree

pursuit diver

Alpha House has proven it cannot manage the issues it already has and opportunities given in the past and should be escorted out of this city, period!
To see them waste more the taxpayers money is unacceptable and the protest drums are beating loud to awaken the people that have seen the Alpha House turn into a SCS on steroids. We may as well put all our tax dollars in a big pit and throw a match to it.
They have no interest in ending this crisis, but increasing it for their own monetary gains, on the backs of what are called the ‘cities most vulnerable’.
Once again the UCP has lied to us and shame on us for having faith in them. They were fully aware of the issues of mismanagement by Alpha House, including the operation of a hotel on Mayor Magrath Drive for a COVID isolation facility, last spring that saw zero oversight over the COVID positive residents, but instead a party palace with COVID positive residents even taking taxis to buy booze or drugs and other supplies and even getting on the city buses, spreading COVID without any concern, thanks to the management.
Reports of rapes, open drug use, assaults, high theft rates and gangs bullying residents at the Alpha House are common and when reported to staff, nothing gets done.
Now the government wants to blow more money on increasing the numbers we have to house, which attract more people from other centers, causing a never ending increase of homeless, crime, addicts and fatal overdoses, just like it does in BC.
I thought this new City Council would realize the when you increase the numbers of homeless we can house, other centers ship their problems to us, just like they have been for the last few years! Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, nearby indigenous communities have all shipped their problems to us, but mostly the nearby indigenous communities, Calgary and Edmonton. The more beds you open the more people you will see fill them.
Time to get rid of the UCP and time to wake up the residents to hit the streets and take back our city!
One last comment – The Park and Ride terminal is a transit terminal, which sees hundreds of people passing through it every day, yet even at it’s worst, this city endangered those transit users by making it mandatory that the homeless/addicts were allowed to ‘hang out’ to use the toilets and warm up, even though most would not social distance, wear masks or respect the transit users, shooting up drugs in the washrooms, using the sinks to bathe/wash hair, threatening to spit on people telling them that they have COVID. What part of the term “SUPER SPREADER” events do you not understand? But what they heck eh, you don’t see City Council in the washrooms there or riding the buses!
Hypothetically, one person coughing with COVID in the lobby can infect 10 people when busy, now many of those 10 people ride the bus daily, often more than once and they do not know they have COVID so continue to ride the bus, spreading it further and so on and so on! Maybe we need to replace many of the old guard on these committees and the administration. Or you can prepare to spend $80 million to $120 million annually of municipal tax dollars in the housing hundreds of homeless addicts that have been attracted to the city. We got a new city council, but it appears the same old guard is making the same mistakes.
Reminder – Vancouver DTES spends over $360 million annually for 300 social and housing programs and the greater DTES is under 20,000 people. Google it! They never learned that after 18 years harm reduction is a failure and only encourages more addicts to continue in their drug abuse!

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver