Leduc city council to review motion pleading support for emergency winter shelter

Leduc city council will review a motion pleading support for an emergency winter shelter. The motion passed by a margin of 4-3 on June 24. (Leduc Hub Association - image credit)
Leduc city council will review a motion pleading support for an emergency winter shelter. The motion passed by a margin of 4-3 on June 24. (Leduc Hub Association - image credit)

The future of an emergency winter shelter for Leduc's homeless community members is uncertain as council is set to review an approved motion that pledged support for the project.

Today, city council will be reviewing its decision to provide more than $300,000 for modular accommodation units located behind the Protective Services building, which houses the Leduc RCMP detachment and a fire hall. The funding is also to cover custodial and security services, and some staffing costs.

The Hub, the city's only homeless shelter, closed May 1. But the city was prepared to commit money for a new facility this fall. It has not yet been determined whether the Hub will run the facility.

The association has sent a letter to council outlining the immediate impacts of the Hub being unable to operate, which they say has lead to eight community members dying since the closure.

Concern has been raised by the Hub about whether a motion to rescind the previous motion for the shelter will be raised at Monday's meeting, after the review.

"It would just be absolutely horrific if it does get rescinded," Hub board chair Shannon Dalke told CBC.

"These emergency shelters can save lives, and if we don't have them, I'm super fearful of what's going to happen to these people."

Dalke said the hub has been trying to help community members through a community outreach hub being hosted by a local church.

The team has helped about 80 people since having to transition to an outreach model that provides snacks, water and toiletries.

"It's important that we're there, out in the public, showing that we're still available for those who need us, and also to the community that you know, the hub is still present," Dalke said.

Motion to create a shelter 

At a June 24 council meeting, Coun. Ryan Pollard put forward a motion calling for city administration to initiate planning and facility requirements to provide overnight emergency shelter services that would operate during severe weather between Nov. 1, 2024, and April 30, 2025.

His motion passed in a 4-3 vote.

The services would include modular accommodation units located behind the Protective Services building, which houses the Leduc RCMP detachment and a fire hall.

Administration was directed to look for a contract service provider to operate the program at a cost of up to $308,000. The money would come from the city's operating reserve fund.

Mayor Bob Young, who voted against the motion, said instead of opening a new emergency shelter, Leduc should instead direct people experiencing homelessness to the province's new navigation centre in Edmonton.

"I'm not voting against this because I want to see somebody freezing in the streets," Young told council. "I want to see people get the help and the support that they need."