City council approves nearly $4M in funding allocations for Lethbridge community agencies

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge council allocates nearly $4M in 2nd round of community funding' Lethbridge council allocates nearly $4M in 2nd round of community funding
WATCH ABOVE: Lethbridge community agencies have received almost $10 million combined through two phases of funding allocations by city council. On Monday, the second round of allocations for the Lethbridge Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy were approved. Danica Ferris reports – Nov 3, 2020

For the second time in a month, city council voted unanimously on Monday in favour of allocation proposals from city staff for phase two of the Lethbridge Community Wellbeing and Safety Strategy (CWSS).

Read more: City council approves nearly $6M in funding for Lethbridge social services

The first round of CWSS funding allocations was approved on Oct. 5, and saw nearly $6 million in municipal, provincial, and federal funds granted to community service groups; Monday’s $3.9 million worth of allocations included zero dollars from the City of Lethbridge.

“The first one really focused around primarily homelessness, and homelessness-related dollars,” said Martin Thomsen, the city’s manager of community social development. “This pot [was] more intervention prevention dollars.”

Combined, the CWSS has now confirmed the allocation of nearly $10 million, with funding sources from the federal and provincial governments including: Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Outreach Support Services Initiative (OSSI), Reaching Home and Reaching Home – COVID-19.

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With funding coming from higher levels of government Thomsen says there were a lot of strict rules on how the money could be used.

The restrictions meant a some organizations who applied for funding were left empty handed.

“We were only able to fund a third of the asks that came in,” said Councillor Belinda Crowson.

“Part of that was because there’s a limit on how much money there is, part of it is a lot of the asks did not fit into the very strict [restrictions], so of course we’ll be constantly looking to see if there’s more provincial and federal money that we can support,” she said.

In total on Monday, 18 community agencies joined the six that received funding in round one:

  • Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society
  • Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization
  • Nord-Bridge Senior Citizens Association
  • Lethbridge Housing Authority
  • Wood’s Homes
  • Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society
  • Volunteer Lethbridge
  • Lethbridge Diversity and Inclusion Alliance
  • Family Centre Society
  • University of Lethbridge
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Boys and Girls Club of Lethbridge
  • Lethbridge School Division
  • Holy Spirit Catholic School Division
  • The Mustard Seed
  • Streets Alive Family Support Association
  • PSH Consortium
  • Canada Mental Health Association (CMHA) Alberta South Region

A full list of the approved funds is available in the Nov. 2 city council agenda.

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One of the organizations listed in both phases was the Canadian Mental Health Association. CMHA Alberta South Region communication lead and project coordinator David Gabert says the funds will enable collaboration with other service providers.

“Whether it’s Lethbridge family centre or family services, whether it’s Lethbridge housing, whether it’s the food banks or the schools, we can look at all the different places people are already turning to for help and kind of tie them into a larger ecosystem that’s being designed,” said Gabert.

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The City of Lethbridge said in a release on Monday that the anticipated community impacts of CWSS funding include:

  • Programming dollars are focused on priority populations
  • Centralized access and enhanced client experience that tailor individual needs to services in the community
  • Strategic investment to build capacity in a Blackfoot organization for community-wide access to cultural expertise, knowledge and programming
  • Decreased service duplication through an integrated delivery model
  • Strategic push to end homelessness by 2022

The city continued, “the next steps for the CWSS involve written notice of results to community and all proponents; contracts executed in November and December; transition planning and implementation as required; and new programs starting on or before Jan. 1, 2021.”

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