Slave Lake homeless study presented, discussed on Feb. 27

Luncheon meeting also a fundraiser for Mat Program

Gord Fortin
Lakeside Leader

The Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre is hosting Dr. Anne Marie McLaughlin, who will be presenting the results of a homeless report.
The report is the Homelessness in a Rural Community: Perceptions in Slave Lake, Alberta report done in 2016. Barb Courtorielle, of the Friendship Centre, says McLaughlin, who is a professor at the University of Calgary, will have a PowerPoint presentation and take questions at the Feb. 27 meeting.
“It’s just going to be a luncheon meeting,” Courtorielle says.
The presentation will go over highlights of the report. Copies of the report will be available if anyone wants to read it.
Courtorielle hopes that people will be interested in hearing the report because it demonstrates some interesting facts about Slave Lake. The presentation will cover topics such as how many homeless are in town. She says that based on what she has seen there is more homelessness in Slave Lake since 2016. By her numbers there are about six more people.
The Mat Program has been busy, Courtorielle reports. There have been up to 14 people using the program and funding is starting to run thin.
“It’s getting pretty tight here,” she says.
Courtorielle is waiting on cheques to come in.
“I’m holding my breath right now,” she says.
Courtorielle estimates that there are enough funds to run the program until the end of February. At this rate, once March starts the program would have to shut down. She explains that this is because she can’t afford security for the shelter. Without security, the Mat Program cannot operate.
The lunch meeting is open to the public from noon to 1:00 p.m. Courtorielle asked that you RSVP to the Friendship Centre by calling 780-849-3039. It is free to attend but Courtorielle will be taking monetary donations in lieu of a entry fee. There is no limit on how much you can donate.
Courtorielle hopes that there will be a good turnout. She hopes that people will come away with how important the Mat Program is and what it does for the community. She also hopes this helps people realize how homelessness affects everybody in the community, such as, hospital, police and town office.
“The homeless have affected everyone here,” she says.

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