City of Wetaskiwin Homelessness Timeline

  • Neighbours Outreach Wetaskiwin Proposes Emergency Shelter Location

    Neighbours Outreach Wetaskiwin Proposes Emergency Shelter Location
    Neighbours Outreach Wetaskiwin (NOW) Society put together a proposal for the development of an emergency shelter in Wetaskiwin. The proposed location of the shelter was the former rural RCMP detachment. This property is zoned C2 – General Commercial, which does not allow for temporary shelter services. This bylaw amendment was defeated by Council on the second reading.
  • Skate Shacks Used as Temporary Shelters

    Skate Shacks Used as Temporary Shelters
    The City re-purposed skate shacks and placed them in a vacant field frequented by members of the vulnerable population as a means to provide basic protection from the elements.
  • Skate Shacks Burn Down

    Skate Shacks Burn Down
    The temporary shelters were destroyed by fire once month after their installment.
  • City Opens Emergency Warming Shelter

    City Opens Emergency Warming Shelter
    From February 5 to April 30, 2019, an emergency warming shelter was set up in the Wetaskiwin Civic Building, thanks to a $40,000 provincial grant. This shelter was open from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. every day and was largely run by unpaid community volunteers, including City staff and Council members. This model proved unsustainable and did not address the complex needs of those who accessed the shelter.
  • City Closes Emergency Warming Shelter

    On April 30, 2019, the City closed the emergency warming shelter which was operating out of the Civic Building.
  • City Allocates $65,000 to Open Emergency Shelter

    At their regular November 12, 2019 meeting, Wetaskiwin City Council directed that Administration take immediate steps to open an emergency shelter at the Civic Building again. A financial
    commitment of up to $65,000 was approved to cover the shelter's operational costs until March 31, 2020. Click Here to view the media release.
  • City Contracts Lighthouse Church to Run Emergency Shelter

    City Contracts Lighthouse Church to Run Emergency Shelter
    Between December 2019 and March 2020, Lighthouse Church staffed an emergency shelter operating out of the unused City of Wetaskiwin Civic Building.
  • City Closes Shelter Early Due to Safety Concerns

    City Closes Shelter Early Due to Safety Concerns
    The City of Wetaskiwin closed the downtown emergency shelter earlier than planned after abuse, threats, and assaults were reported by community members accessing/working in the downtown core. Lighthouse Church had been running the shelter. Click here for the Global News report.
  • The Open Door Engages the City

    The Open Door Engages the City
    The Open Door Society advocates for homelessness and addictions programming/facility setup in City of Wetaskiwin. The model would be based on its pilot 24/7 Integrated Youth Hub in Camrose (launched in 2017).
  • The Open Door Looks to Purchase Local Building

    The Open Door Looks to Purchase Local Building
    The Open Door Association begins seeking property in Wetaskiwin to serve as its base of operations. Finalizing the purchase was contingent on the property being re-zoned to allow for a shelter. Adequate notice and public hearings are required before City Council can rezone property--as required by the Municipal Government Act.
  • City Commits $90,000 to The Open Door

    Wetaskiwin City Council approved up to $90,000 for The Open Door to mobilize, operate, and manage a local 24/7 integrated support site, which was set to open November 1, 2020 in Wetaskiwin.
  • The Open Door Provides Update

    The Open Door Provides Update
    The Open Door's executive director, Jessica Hutton, provided Wetaskiwin City Council with an update as to their program plans on Sept. 14, 2020. The Open Door hoped to begin operations in Wetaskiwin by November 2020. Click Here to review the Open Door's Sept. 14, 2020 presentation to City Council.
  • Council Votes Against Rezoning for Shelter

    Council Votes Against Rezoning for Shelter
    Council voted against a proposed re-zoning of 5417 36 Ave to allow for the operation of a 24/7 support site following threats of litigation from The Mormon Church's lawyer. Legal counsel stated that the City did not properly notify the church during the notification process by leaving a dated letter at their door instead of hand-delivering it.
  • City Declares State of Local Emergency

    City Declares State of Local Emergency
    The City of Wetaskiwin declared a State of Local Emergency (specific to the vulnerable population) to allow The Open Door to utilize the Civic Building as a temporary shelter while the search continued for a suitable, permanent location.
  • City Grants Open Door Temporary Use of Civic Building

    City Grants Open Door Temporary Use of Civic Building
    The Hub asked the City for interim options for an emergency facility. The City offered the mostly-vacant Civic Building as a stopgap solution. All parties agreed to the terms and conditions. Sources:
    https://wetaskiwin.ca/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/243
  • Temporary shelter facility opens at Civic Building

    Temporary shelter facility opens at Civic Building
    The 24/7 Integrated Response Hub officially began running its programming from the Civic Building on November 12, 2020.
  • The Open Door Signs MOU with City

    The Open Door signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City to clarify that the Hub is responsible for all activities in the interior of building and the RCMP and Community Peace Officers are responsible for enforcement on the exterior.
  • Danielle Smith Interviews The Open Door's Executive Director

    Danielle Smith Interviews The Open Door's Executive Director
    Danielle Smith interviews Jessica Hutton, executive director of The Open Door, on her radio program. In the interview, Hutton provides a rough breakdown of Hub clients: 20% Wetaskiwinites; 20% Wetaskiwin County; 60% Maskwacis.
  • Relocation Options Presented to Council

    City Administration presents a report to Council containing an overview of available funding, business requirements, and estimated timelines to relocate Hub to a new location.
  • City Assembles Hub Task Force

    City Administration assembled a Hub Task Force. Members focused on observations, facts, increased public concerns, and things that could be done to improve the situation in the downtown core.
  • Council Revokes MOU with The Open Door

    City Council revoked its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Open Door, giving them a 90-day window to vacate the Civic Building following a sharp increase in assaults, graffiti, and harassment in the City's downtown core.
  • City Provides Community Update

    The City provided an initial community update via Zoom in tandem with the Downtown Business Association. This event was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. MP Mike Lake and Minister Rick Wilson attended.
  • RCMP Links Crime Stats to Hub Programming

    RCMP Links Crime Stats to Hub Programming
    Wetaskiwin RCMP Inspector Durance makes a direct correlation between the Hub's programming and a significant drop in crime stats across the board (conceding that COVID also skews the stats). Insp. Durance also posits that the spike in crimes/assaults in the downtown core is due to the hub centralizing the vulnerable population, whereas prior to the hub these incidents were spread out geographically.
  • Hub Task Force Presents to Council

    The Hub Task Force presented its recommendations to Council for approval. Click Here to review the Council meeting agenda.
  • FCSS Revives Homelessness Committee

    The Guiding Coalition on Homelessness Committee holds its initial meeting.
  • City Updates Community

    City Updates Community
    The City provided another update--hosted by the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce--to the community on the plan for supporting vulnerable humans locally. MLA Mike Lake attends.
  • Samson Cree Nation offers Base of Operations for the Hub

    Samson Cree Nation offers Base of Operations for the Hub
    On Monday, July 26, 2021, Chief and Council of Samson Cree Nation decided to offer their ATCO trailers to The Open Door as a base of operations for their programming. Samson Chief Vernon Saddleback speaks about this in a video update here: https://www.facebook.com/acahkosis/videos/1927107764115339