April 12th, 2024

Streets Alive offers insight to supportive housing project

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on October 5, 2023.

Herald photo by Ian Martens Lethbridge city council on Tuesday approved a request for funding to Streets Alive for a supportive recovery housing project at 925 15 St. S.

The chief operations officer for Streets Alive in Lethbridge believes the new supportive housing project for which city council has committed money will have a positive impact on the city’s homeless.

“I think it’ll have a significantly positive impact,” says Cameron Kissick. “We’re talking about 30 individuals that have a place to go where they will receive supports for addiction, mental health, doctors, counselors, along with supportive and supervised living accommodations to help keep them on the right track.”

During a city council meeting Monday, councillors approved $560,000 for the much-needed and long overdue project.

“I think that Lethbridge is long overdue for permanent supportive housing for both the vulnerable and the addicted population of Lethbridge. And these types of resources are needed for the community and for those individuals.”

Robin James, Lethbridge Housing Authority chief administrative officer, agrees, and said the project will benefit both the city and people for which the project is intended.

“Lethbridge Housing will always welcome more affordable housing in our community with the goal of providing a recovery orientated and safe space for the clients we serve while meeting the needs of the entire community,” said James.

The Streets Alive facility will have eight, two-bedroom units on the second floor and 16, one-bedroom units in the communal living space on the main floor.

Kissick acknowledges the controversy and divisiveness such facilities create, given the complex issues of homelessness and addiction, but he says the project is intended to help those who need it.

“These things are very, very complex and everybody’s feelings and opinions of it can be very divisive, but at the end of the day, what Lethbridge Housing Authority has proposed is not a facility for individuals and addiction, it’s a facility for individuals trying to get out of addiction, and that’s the that’s the big thing.”

Kissick said any hesitation to allow resources could create more negative impacts.

“If we’re hesitant to allow some of those resources and operations that are going to create a positive impact, we won’t be able to see the negative impacts be lessened in the community.”

Fortunately there are plenty of success stories.

“There’s a lot of success historically, if you look into these types of living, both nationally internationally. If you look at these types of living at what LHA is proposing, there’s actually historical success with what they’re trying to do.”

Kissick encourages community members to research the full proposal and benefits behind it, and ask questions before making any assumptions.

“I think it’s important for the public to know that if they see something like this being proposed, rather than going on to social media or kind of letting the gossip run, contact whatever agency is proposing it directly and ask them questions.”

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While this project may/may not be a success, I am always am cautious when thinking or musing “historical success”. When there are blanket statements used to back up a proposal with no indication of who, what, when and where these “successes” are!!!!!!!