Grande Prairie taking part in conference on homelessness

By Justine Kelsie
June 13, 2018 - 11:25am Updated: June 13, 2018 - 1:26pm

The 7 Cities Conference on Housing First and Homelessness wraps up today. 

The three-day conference in Red Deer had some Grande Prairie representation as Shanda Berns, a Homeless Initiatives Program Specialist, was able to take in the event. 

She is hoping to learn some more strategies for ending homelessness by hearing what other cities have done.

"We have a big opioid crisis right now. I am hoping there are some strategies and collaborations that we can make that kind of go hand-in-hand with harm reduction as well as long-term housing stability," said Berns.

According to Berns, the crisis has changed the way frontline workers deal with homelessness. 

"There are a lot of evictions happening due to increase in crisis. People are coming into units, they are using (drugs) and overdosing. It has put a lot of strain on the system. We are dealing a new subset of homelessness with the opioid crisis."

In her eyes, more training is needed for these workers to better handle client needs.

The event is a place for practitioners, government officials, people in the education realm, and interested community members to attend. On the 7 Cities website, the conference is meant to "create dialogue, and collaboratively focus our efforts to end homelessness".

The theme this year is A Decade of Progress, a Lifetime of Change. 

w/ files from Josh Hall/rdnewsNOW

Detour changes on the horizon for downtown Grande Prairie

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