Province to announce funds for supportive housing in Lethbridge

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge State of the City highlights need for supportive housing' Lethbridge State of the City highlights need for supportive housing
WATCH ABOVE: Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman took Wednesday’s State of the City event as an opportunity to promote the Municipal Housing Strategy. As Emily Olsen reports, the push for promised provincial funding has garnered support closer to home. – Jan 29, 2020

Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman may soon be getting the news he has been pushing for.

The provincial government has scheduled an announcement for Thursday at city hall, where it is expected an 11 million dollar capital investment will be put forward for supportive housing in Lethbridge.

The news comes shortly after the State of the City event on Wednesday, where the mayor addressed a packed room and discussed the successes and challenges of the past year, as well as focuses going into 2020.

Listed among the key focuses was that municipal housing, which has been the intention of city council to implement for some time.

READ MORE: Lethbridge City Council creates task force to address housing needs

“Council approved a Municipal Housing Strategy, and we actually have $3.5 million that we’re willing to use to partner with private investors who want to provide social housing and affordable housing to those in need in our city,” Spearman said.

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That municipal housing would also add another pillar to the city’s drug response.

The provincial government had previously been tight-lipped about whether they would follow through on funding promised by the former NDP government, but Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf says it’s one issue on which he, Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips and the mayor can all agree.

“This is a key component to what we need for Lethbridge and I have been advocating from day one for that,” Neudorf said.

While no parties have been identified, those involved confirm there are new local business partners in the mix already.

“Now that we know where the needs are, and we can identify some of the funding sources,” Bridget Mearns, Executive Officer for BILD Lethbridge, said.

“It will be an opportunity to have those who are managing housing with those who are building housing, and see if we can find some common ground there to be able to build the gap that’s been identified in the strategy.”

READ MORE: Lethbridge city council and ARCHES respond to premier’s supervised consumption comments

Spearman says the next steps are crucial, as is the community’s involvement.

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“They may get employment or some form of a skill program and they can be productive and contribute back to society. But without that housing, we will always have significant social issues in our city… [We are] waiting [for] and encouraging applications from any companies who are interested in building social and supportive housing in the city.”


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