On Monday night, Grande Prairie City Council agreed to purchase the Stonebridge Hotel and Conference Centre for $12.5-million, making the Coordinated Care Campus (CCC) a reality.
An additional $3-million will go into renovation and upgrades to the soon-to-be supportive housing facilty.
Chronic homelessness is expensive for taxpayers in Grande Prairie; Coordinated Care Campus one step closer to reality
Despite the multi-million dollar price tag, Grande Prairie Councillor Dylan Bressey says the upfront cost is worth the steep price tag in the end.
“We are spending a giant amount of taxpayer money on chronic homelessness, right now” Bressey said. “The city directly spends about $5-million a year for 202 people who are chronically homeless. That is about $25,000 per (resident of the city) per year.”
“The cost of homelessness to our community is huge,” Councillor Chris Thiessen added. “I would just like to stress I think we need to do this right. Using everybody’s opinions, facts and knowledge around this. I think we can come to a good solution that actually works for everybody, but we have to do it right.”
Council discussed the project and questioned administration on its budget until after 11 p.m. on Monday night. There was one dissenting vote in Deputy Mayor Wade Pilat.
The decision to purchase the facility was prefaced with a couple of conditions put forth by Bressey.
The first was that administration provides quarterly reports to council on the CCC once it is in operation, including RCMP statistics from the neighbourhood and feedback from both residents of the community and the CCC.
“Council needs a mechanism for regular updates,” Bressey said, adding in response to concerns brought up by Pilat, that financial updates should also be provided before the end of the fiscal year. “If council believed administration was not giving enough information, they could request administration provide it.”
Pilat said he could not support a budget report that had too many holes and wasn’t providing an accurate enough picture of all the costs affiliated with renovating and operating the CCC.
The amendment that quarterly updates be given passed unanimously, as was a second conditional motion made by Bressey, that a $50,000 crime prevention grant be set up.
The crime prevention grant allows for neighbouring businessess or residents to apply for funds to help with lighting, cameras or other crime prevention tools.
Original Article: https://www.fortmcmurraytoday.com/news/chronic-homlessness-a-costly-proposition