Pieces falling into place for homeless coalition

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

On October 5, the Town of Slave Lake council unanimously voted to send a letter of support to the Slave Lake Homeless Coalition for a grant application. The coalition will hear mid-October if the grants were successful.

On October 1, the Slave Lake Homeless Coalition took the first step toward becoming a non-profit.

“We have our board now,” says program coordinator, Jule Asterisk.

The board has nine members. Brice Ferguson and Danielle Larivee are the co-chairs. Winona Twin is the secretary. Andrew Achoba is the treasurer. The other members are Blanche Chymycz, Susan Giesbrecht, Edith MacKenzie, and Ian Cameron.

The legal team with Cardinal Energy is helping with this process.

The Coalition’s plan for the 2021-22 winter is to use a combination of emergency measures. The first is hotel rooms for two months. The other is a camp trailer on a lot in Slave Lake.

A Slave Lake hotel has agreed to let the coalition use some rooms and will donate four rooms for the first month.

The Slave Lake Airport Commission has offered a lease of land north of the Animal Rescue Committee of Slave Lake for one dollar.

There are several other steps connected with this step, says Ferguson. All of which have to wait until the grants have been approved.

Mid-October, the coalition plans to begin community engagement, rezoning applications, installation of utilities, and a business license application. It is also looking for donations of a camp trailer for a year.

A camp trailer on this location is “an emergency measure for this year,” says Ferguson. “It wouldn’t be the first choice of location.”

There is no sidewalk and people with disabilities may have trouble accessing the site. At least one of the homeless women in Slave Lake uses a wheelchair.

With this in mind, Asterisk is working on finding alternate locations in Slave Lake.

A housing and needs estimation should be ready soon.

People in the Slave Lake area filled in about 45 to 50 paper copies of a housing and needs survey, says Garry Roth with the Town of Slave Lake. The survey was also available online.

The next meeting is October 22 starting at 1:30 p.m. on Zoom. For the meeting link, email [email protected]

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