Strathmore FCSS Tackles Rural Homelessness

Strathmore Now, March 13, 2019

Monique Massiah

Strathmore Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) applied for and was successful in receiving funding to take part in the Alberta Rural Homelessness Estimation Project.

Town council adopted a report on the project at the March 6 council meeting.

The meeting revealed that Strathmore (FCSS) will be taking the lead on the project. The next steps will be for FCSS to bring community partners to the table and provide community education.

In 2017, the Alberta Rural Development Network published a step-by-step guide to estimate rural homelessness.

The town is one of the 21 Alberta municipalities participating in one of the largest coordinated rural homelessness data collection projects ever completed.

“It’s estimated that across Canada in rural and remote areas there is between 70,000 and 100,000 homeless people,” said the Town of Strathmore’s Social Services Co-ordinator Linda Bernicki.

She explained that estimating rural homelessness helps to develop programs and services that can intervene, or assist people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

It also helps municipalities to provide information to agencies, in order to improve social services, and it increases awareness of rural homelessness in the area.

The intent of the task force is to provide framework, education, develop policies, and identify resources.

Bernicki also spoke of the risk of becoming homeless.

“One of the reasons we wanted to become part of this project was looking at more of the prevention of homelessness,” she said. “Those people that are at risk, they say that their housing is stable, but in the next sentence they may say that they don’t have enough money for food because they’ve used that money for rent,” she said.