June 24th, 2024

Community care campus pitched to Cultural and Social SPC


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 19, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber A person leaves the Lethbridge shelter on Friday morning. A city resident has submitted a proposal that would put homes for the sober homeless at this site with one for addicts going near the edge of the Blood Reserve.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Cultural and Social Standing Policy committee of Lethbridge city council has filed for information a report submitted by a Lethbridge resident about potential ways to address homelessness and addictions issues.
In a five-minute presentation, Dennis Bremner discussed a proposal for a community care campus that would allow for proper care and traditional healing for members of the Blackfoot Confederacy while giving addicts and homeless people homes rather than shelters.
“The objective was to give you a Plan B, a Plan B where people are housed, both the homeless and the addicted. The addicted would be on the border with the Blood and Blackfoot Confederacy and the homeless would be in the present shelter which is Alpha House and the Soup Kitchen,” he told the committee.
Bremner is calling for the construction of a 42-bed facility that would be used for homeless families and singles. He also said trailers could be used for housing the homeless at his preferred site which would be set up at the site of the existing Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter and would require expropriation of property next to the wall of an adjacent business.
He calls for the present Alpha House location to be taken over by Streets Alive or Mustard Seed and used as dry shelter. He said the soup kitchen would not be allowed to serve intoxicated people.
“This creates a trusted home for the homeless, a safe place to eat and sleep. The homeless that are presently being beaten up by addicts for their money should see a reduction of that kind of crime,” his report states, adding that homeless families would feel safer.
HIs proposal to help addicts calls for the procurement of property on the border of the Blackfoot Confederacy such as the old Kipp rifle range on Highway 509. He calls for the construction of five 100×200-foot steel buildings, two for housing addicts who would be separated by gender. One building would be used for a dining hall and kitchen, a fourth for medical staff with a consumption site operating under the auspices of Alberta Health Services. A fifth building would be used for bus maintenance and to stow equipment.
Bremner wants the city to implement a bus route between Lethbridge and Standoff that would meet at the facility at the same time. The service would run on an hourly basis. He calls for a police officer to be stationed at the bus stop in Lethbridge with no intoxicated people getting on at any of the stops. The facility would be managed by Alpha House, Blackfoot Elders and a representative from the city.
“The objective was to make sure that businesses were left intact, that residences were left intact, that the Blackfoot Confederacy was able to then treat their own, that in fact addicts would have a home and not a shelter. And that is most important to me,” Bremner told the committee.
“The objective was to avoid the term ‘shelter’ and absolutely avoid having anything to do with a shelter. Give a person a home, give them a place where they’re alongside, in this case the Blood Reserve or Blackfoot Confederacy and allow the Blackfoot Confederacy to work their magic in their treatment and healing systems on the individuals that were there.
“It is a multi-race, multi-gender facility so if a white person wants to take traditional healing they can; if they want to go the traditional way they also can. It would be a totally wet facility,” said Bremner, who said he is working with people including Alvin Mills.
“Ultimately in the end, the purpose was to make sure nobody suffered any harm in this city because my projections are always different from non-profits.”

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Dennis Bremner

“He also said trailers could be used for housing the homeless at his preferred site which would be set up at the site of the existing Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter and would require expropriation of property next to the wall of an adjacent business.”
No expropriation is needed for the preferred plan. Go to page 29 of this document https://lethccc.com/ccc_rev8.pdf
The site is secure and what you will be looking at is a PDF document. Read the narrative on the very rudimentary drawings.
If you wish to read more of the plan, its all there! If you wish to cruise the site, its https://lethccc.com. Vote while you are there please.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
bladeofgrass

I have never been so disgusted at the council members on this Public forum (Cultural and Social Standing Committee) who basically snubbed this presentation nor asked the audience if they had any questions! A gentle well-known Indigenous person put up his hand to talk and they disregarded his hand to speak. This proposal/plan is a VERY viable solution that will give the addicts a home and could be erected before the next snowfall, where the 19 acres may not have any improvement on this matter for 3-5 years! That’s a lot of motels folks, being filled up with the next winters to come. Nor are the hotel renters supervised while using their drugs in the suites. Just ask how many people have died in these hotels due to ODing. I ask you, who wants this ‘major’ Southern Rehab downtown??

Learjet

For the moment, I’m willing to cut this committee some slack because they are relatively new. Also, there may be something in the Procedures Bylaw that unfortunately did not allow this gentleman to be involved (I will see to get clarification).
Perhaps we need a Public Hearing on this at which time everyone will get their 5 minutes to speak.

Montreal13

No there is nothing in the procedure bylaw that members of the audience are not allowed to speak. If you went to some of these public hearings you would know that a member of the committee asks if any member of the audience wishes to speak on this issue. Only this time Jen Rempel didnot offer the service at this public hearing. A hearing whose purpose is for open and transparent government. Curious for some,not me.

Learjet

The City pretty well has a moral obligation to purchase the property from Eldorado RV for the $2.5M asking price, having rendered that business unfunctional.
Also, 42 beds won’t help solve the needs of 250 homeless people, but it’s a start.
The idea of creating a facility for addressing the scourge of addictions which helps affected individuals with a change of environment makes sense on one level. However, I’m not sure where Mr. Bremner gets his experience in facility design. He seems very obsessed with making it as unappealing as possible… which is consistent with forcing addicts to be incarcerated there rather than appealing to their desire to turn there lives around. Betty White.
Nor does he mention how much it will cost nor where the funding will come from. At least he’s making an effort despite the racial undertones.

bladeofgrass

Couple things, they will not be incarcerated in this plan, but free to come and go as they please, but cannot be intoxicated/drugged. It still is against the law you know. Hourly busses in and out. I assure you the cost would be much Much less than what is planned at the 19 acres by City Admin… Perhaps you could ask what the cost of there’s will be? If they give the answer ‘nothing to Lethbridge taxpayers’ for it’s provincial/federal dollars… wonder when the sh>>>’s going to hit the fan when Canadian’s have to start paying back all of the Billions spent on housing on our income taxes. Never mind what it will do for Lethbridge’s integrity or new business, or downtown and Residents. If you had experience in the damage they do to rentals, you may understand why a ‘tiny home’ for example, is not a good solution.

Dennis Bremner

If you read the proposal its very clear costs are way way less than anything being spent in the 19 Acres downtown. We think the facility could be built for about $3-3.5million at this point. We have a list of businesses that would be willing to kick in money to build it. Long term costs to police, businesses, residents has to be considered in any downtown proposal. So whatever non profits think it will cost quadruple downtown costs as well as consideration must be taken into account on the damage to society as a whole.
Building design is not our expertise, we just made a suggestion as to design so people would not have to invent one in their heads. The objective is to be able to expand quickly if needed. Hence the use of quick erect steel buildings. We expect the numbers of addicted to be somewhere between 500-600 by the time the Downtown plan gets the go ahead to build( we have 305ish Addicts and Homeless now). If we build for 450 and need another building , we have it up in running in 4 months or less accommodating the increase.
There are numerous concepts but all tend to take more time then they are worth. Cost way more then they should and create “pretty” over functionality. The objective is not to create a “pretty environment” for those who work there. It is to create a home as quickly as possible that can take the abuse of addiction and bounce back.
If we were to be given a permit today, we have the facility totally financed, today! What we do not have is a guarantee of funding from the UCP because they do not like the concept of a consumption facility. Which we find rather strange. Our concept is pretty easy to understand, we stop people from dying in a back alley first, we provide a home second, and we connect them with their roots and traditional healers, third.
The UCP is building a $28million dollar detox facility in Vern next to Cardston. Our facility would feed that facility.
Incarceration Comment- I find it interesting that a home where an individual has a bunk, a locker, a backyard, meeting areas for family, and the ability to hop on a bus like any other Lethbridge Resident to visit family or go to Standoff, or Lethbridge, who can come and go as he/she wishes, is somehow considered incarceration?
What if an addict does not want to be sheltered on the 19 Acres downtown, what if he/she prefers to be sheltered in Galt Gardens, should a shelter be built there or does Lethbridge say, sorry, you go where we want to shelter you, not the other way around?

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Bremner
Montreal13

With all the bureaucracy involved with the other proposal ,his will be a bargain. The bureaucrats at city hall don’t want to lose any control of the money which may affect their jobs. Follow the money.