Project Progress

Since the province announced funding for the permanent shelter in February 2020, there has been a lot of work done in the background on roles in the project, site selection process, service delivery, and ownership of site and building.

Where we're at

September 28, 2023

As you are likely already aware, The City of Red Deer continues to work with the Province of Alberta to site and plan for the development of a purpose-built integrated shelter in our community. This important work has been underway for many years, and our community is understandably frustrated that a location has not yet been identified, despite City Council’s commitment and focused efforts.

Recent Milestones:

  • May 9, 2023: A site was approved by Red Deer City Council to recommend to the Province of Alberta.
  • June 26, 2023: The Province provided formal support for the City Council recommended site.
  • September 2023: A Letter of Intent was signed between The City of Red Deer and property owner. This enables The City to negotiate and work with the landowner to determine the viability of the potential site. The letter also requires that confidentiality of the potential location be upheld.

After receiving support from the Province, City administration began exploring the provincially-supported site in more detail; this exploration is very preliminary as we work with the landowner to determine potential viability. With it being in the early in this process, The City is not prepared to disclose the location to protect the land negotiation process, any rezoning processes that might arise, and associated confidentiality per its agreement with a private landowner.

Selecting a future shelter site has been a difficult process in that we, at times, have had limited ability to share information with our community because of the nuances related to provincial and municipal roles and responsibilities for this project, private versus public land availability and negotiation, and our desire to engage the community and be as transparent as possible as we seek to find the right place for a shelter in our city.

While we know there is no one site that will alleviate concerns for those in the vicinity of a shelter, The City is working closely with the province to ensure a purpose-built space that will not only look different from what we have now but will meet the needs of everyone in our community, including businesses, citizens, and shelter users. This is a Province of Alberta project; however, The City of Red Deer is deeply invested in this work as we recognize the impact and importance for our community.

While we are not able to share specific information about the site currently being explored, we want people to know there are many steps in the process to build and develop a shelter site, which includes rezoning. A rezoning will require a public hearing component, giving the community further opportunities to have input if the currently recommended site proceeds.

Last week, City Council met to discuss next steps as they continue to work with the Province to find the right site. We want residents and citizens to know we are listening. We hear their concerns, and we will continue to listen, adjust, and share information that ensures we site a shelter that meets the needs of everyone in our community.

Timeline of Events

February  The province committed $7 million towards the purpose-built integrated permanent shelter in Red Deer.
November  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the province and The City was finalized, outlining high level responsibilities.
November 15 City Council released their In Camera recommendation for a Housing-Focused Shelter service delivery model. This requests that operations focus on outcome-based, low-barrier, integrated service delivery using a housing-focused model that strives to end chronic homelessness. The Government of Alberta confirmed its support of this direction in a letter to The City dated January 6, 2022.
April 2021 – January 2022 Council held 13 closed meetings to determine an appropriate site and service model delivery recommendation.
January 22 A potential location was released for the permanent shelter following administration conducting a search of potential sites with the support of a commercial realtor. Nearly 80 sites in Red Deer were explored during the process.
February 16-23 The City conducted several targeted community conversations to develop a better understanding of the community’s thoughts on the shelter, its location, and the process thus far, in advance of zoning requirements for the proposed location.
March 7 Administration and third-party engagement specialist presented the What We Heard report during the Special Council Meeting. Council gave administration direction to develop an engagement strategy to host additional community conversations about the permanent shelter in Red Deer.
April Council approved the previous reports, presentations, communications and recommendations held in closed meetings (In Camera) to be released publicly. As the final site has not been determined, there is certain information that has been redacted to protect the integrity of the In Camera process and economic interests if a non-City owned site is selected. The redactions throughout the report include site specific information, contractual obligations, legal advice and third-party business information. The full and summary report can be found below under Resources Related to Permanent Shelter Process.
May 9 Council directed administration to develop and implement a public participation strategy to gather community input on site criteria with a deadline to wrap up public participation by June 20, 2022. 
Council directed administration to prepare a very brief report to the community identifying the city‚Äźowned parcel of land at 6910 Riverside Drive (immediately north of the 67 street overpass) as an additional potential site location for the permanent integrated shelter. Included in the report are the estimated timelines and costs associated with servicing the parcel. The report was released on May 31 and can be found below under Resources Related to Permanent Shelter Process.
May 25 - June 10 Online and in-person input opportunities were hosted to gather input on the previously used site criteria, additional criteria and other areas of the permanent shelter. A What We Heard report will be presented to Council at their regular meeting on June 20 that will include an analysis of the input collected, as well as full details from input gathered online, in person and by email/letter.
June 20 During their regular Council meeting, Council voted unanimously in favour of developing a site criteria evaluation matrix before July 4, 2022. Special Council meetings were set for June 24 at 9 a.m. and June 27 at 2:30 p.m. Also during the June 20 Council meeting, administration also presented What we heard: Analysis of May 25 to June 10 input opportunities (pdf) - an analysis and all raw input gathered from May 20 to June 13 about the site criteria and other permanent shelter areas.
June 27 - July 4 Between June 24 and July 4, Administration supported City Council through three facilitated meetings to build out a scoring matrix that will help assess future integrated shelter suitability. On July 4, 2022, City Council approved their scoring matrix and directed proceeding to next steps in the project. 
July 13 - August 5

Site Selection Process Phase 3: Technical Review & Assessment Phase

  • July 13 – 22: commercial realtor to conduct site search. Two meetings were held the week of July 11 to 15 with the commercial realtor. The first was with members of administration to provide information on the site selection process and the approved matrix. The second meeting was with Mayor Ken Johnston and Deputy Mayor Lee to provide further Council perspective.
  • July 20 - 27: call for privately owned sites 
  • July 22 – 25: initial technical assessment conducted by administration prior to site visits
  • July 25 – August 5: site visits and enhanced technical review of short-listed sites
August 15 - September 12

Site Selection Process Phase 4: City Council Review

  • August 15: City Council meeting: administrative recommendation of sites based on City Council’s policy direction through the development of its matrix.
  • August 15 - 26: Additional administrative technical review of additional sites 
  • August 29 - September 12: City Council review and evaluation using their site evaluation matrix approved on July 4, 2022.
September 12

Following an extensive site selection process that involved public, technical and Council input, Council selected and approved a potential site to recommend to the province.

Potential future shelter site selected by Council

September 27

Members of Council met with Provincial representatives to discuss potential site for future shelter in Red Deer. Additional information about the recommended site requested by the Province. Information provided over the following week.

October 11

A new potential site is approved by City Council to formally recommend to the province, following a mutual understanding that the original site recommended would be unsuitable for the future shelter in Red Deer. The new site recommended is on privately owned land, and the land owner was made aware of the interest in the property. Due to the site being privately owned and land negotiations required, the location was not publicly released. 

Resources related to permanent shelter process:

Additional resources: