Proposed Lethbridge shelter re-zoning causing social media stir

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Proposed Lethbridge shelter rezone causing social media stir
Alpha House will not be bringing another supervised consumption site to Lethbridge. After discussion with stakeholders, the group is changing its application that would move the mobile overdose prevention site into the Lethbridge shelter. Erik Bay explains – Aug 9, 2021

An upcoming public hearing is causing a lot of pushback on social media, as Alpha House looks to rezone the area around the Lethbridge Stabilization Centre and Shelter.

The original plan was to include “substance abuse and recovery services,” which would have seen the current mobile overdose prevention site (MOPS) move inside the shelter, as well as an expansion of the building.

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However, after gathering in community feedback, executive director Kathy Christiansen says that’s no longer the case.

“We’re just being flexible and slowing down with that decision until we have more time to work with those community members and stakeholders to land a decision about an appropriate location,” Christiansen said.

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Now, the application is seeking for permission to turn the stabilization program into a detox program, which will provide 24-hour on-site medical support as people transition into housing or treatment.

“There wouldn’t be any structural changes to that component being approved by council and there wouldn’t be any changes in volume,” Christiansen said.

“We would still be supporting 27 people through the detox and transitional housing programs and that’s currently what we’re doing.”

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The MOPS will continue to operate as it has since August 2020 in a trailer outside the shelter, but Christiansen says Alpha House will be revisiting the issue of substance use and recovery services in the city.

“It’s not completely off the table for the future,” Christiansen said.

“We do need to collectively come up with a better solution than operating the program out of a bus. That’s a challenging response, both for the provider and the people in need of the service.”

A public hearing for the application is scheduled for Aug, 24 at city hall.


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