A business owner has floated the idea of using an unused property to shelter the unhoused.
Ryan Ference says the building which suffered fire damage could be fixed up and used by the Men’s Shelter which needs a bigger place.
His comments came as he spoke to Lloydminster City Council in support of the text amendment which affects the Men’s Shelter. The change from temporary shelter to community support centre saw a packed council chamber of community members for the public hearing.
Ference thinks the building which is just north of the Men’s Shelter could serve as a warming shelter and more of the Men’s Shelter needs.
“This building in particular does not have any commercial or residential neighbours nearby with any foot traffic. So, I think that would be an important location to find, wherever this debate ends up if it is approved,” says Ference.
The property is a 3,800-square-foot building at 4729- 52 Street and would benefit from the bylaw amendment being debated by council. The nearest business is some 300 metres away.
Michael Davison, president of the Lloydminster Social Action Coalition which runs the Men’s Shelter says the text amendment is about finding a solution that will work for their neighbours even though it will never be perfect. He is appreciative of the Ference offer.
“I love his proposal. We have had early exploratory conversations with him, that fell apart for nobody’s fault. Just sometimes things happen – timing right and zoning, that’s one of the issues at hand. I look forward to having further conversations with him.”
Returning to the public submissions at council, Davison said that the demand for services has increased as the “homeless population has exploded in the downtown core and we are not equipped to deal with it.”