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Blood Tribe to take over Lethbridge shelter operations: province

Click to play video: 'Blood Tribe Department of Health to operate Lethbridge shelter'
Blood Tribe Department of Health to operate Lethbridge shelter
WATCH: Global News has confirmed the current operators of the Lethbridge Shelter & Stabilization Centre will be stepping aside in the new year to make way for a new organization. Eloise Therien has the details – Oct 12, 2022

The Lethbridge Shelter and Stabilization Centre is currently being operated by Alpha House Society, a non-profit based in Calgary but officials say that will soon be changing.

After running the programs since 2019, Alpha House said Tuesday it had received notice the Government of Alberta would be transferring the funding grant for service provision of the facility to another operator.

That operator is the Blood Tribe Department of Health (BTDH).

“Alpha House will remain as operator until early January 2023, at which time the Blood Tribe Department of Health will assume responsibility for the Shelter and Stabilization programs,” a statement read.

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“Lethbridge is home to our staff and our agency after many years of operations here. We are exceptionally proud of our work providing the best client care possible for those we serve through the shelter, the Stabilization Centre, COVID-19 isolation units and Transitional Housing programs we have operated over the past three years.”

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According to the province, the work to bring in the BTDH is an exciting step toward “true ReconciliAction,” as a majority of clients are Indigenous.

Alpha House said it understood and supported the decision to have the programs be Indigenous-led.

“The Blood Tribe Health Department will be providing culturally appropriate supports to Indigenous people in Lethbridge who are experiencing homelessness,” said press secretary for the minister of community and social services Justin Marshall.

“We are committed to working closely with the City of Lethbridge and all of our partners to find long-term solutions to the issues facing the community. We would like to thank Alpha House for their work.”

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Lethbridge city council votes to explore interim sober shelter

Charles Weaselhead, BTDH co-chair and board member didn’t confirm the January timeline but said the department looks forward to offering its services into the future as the community looks to end poverty.

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According to its website, the organization’s mission is “to improve, promote, and deliver accredited Health Services on the Blood Reserve and support Chief and Council in ensuring the protection of treaty health rights.”

In a statement Tuesday, BTDH estimated 70 per cent of shelter clients in Lethbridge are Indigenous.

“We are committed to ensuring due diligence on the take over and continue to work closely with the Health Table and all of our partners to find long-term solutions to the issues facing vulnerable members of our community,” Weaselhead said.

In the meantime, Alpha House said it will continue to focus on client care as its top priority.

Alpha House Statement by Sean Boynton on Scribd

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Blood Tribe Department of Health Statement by Sean Boynton on Scribd

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