One would not expect homelessness to be a problem in our rich and sparsely populated country. But over the last two decades, it has become a growing concern. Today, there are reportedly over half a million on our city streets or in emergency shelters. In 1998, homelessness was declared a national disaster by the big city mayor'’s caucus. Housing advocates are concerned that a “homeless system” has emerged and that homelessness is becoming a way of life.

How many people are homeless in Lethbridge? Do we have the right approach to the problem in our city? Should we be increasing the number of beds in our shelters? Or do we need a new approach to homelessness; one that closes the front door to emergency shelters and helps those in need through appropriate housing and social support?

Speakers: Diane Randell and Deborah Chenery

Diane Randell is Manager of Community and Social Development for the City of Lethbridge. She has a background in healthcare and community development and has been actively involved in working on community and social issues for several years.

Deborah Chenery is the Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta South Region. She has been a strong community advocate for the mentally ill for the past twenty years. She was recently named a distinguished alumnus of the University of Lethbridge for her outstanding community leadership.

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