Alberta investing $4M to redevelop Indigenous-led homeless shelter

The Alberta government has announced the province will provide $4 million to expand the capacity of a First Nations-run homeless shelter by 125 beds in Lethbridge. The Blood Tribe Department of Health has been operating the shelter since 2023 and will continue to do so under a new memorandum of understanding. The current number of beds at the Lethbridge homeless shelter is 75.

“We hope that solutions will be found for homelessness and drug dependency and to discontinue the service,” said Martin Heavyhead, a council member of the [Blood Tribe] Kainai Nation. “It is, however, a reality that homelessness and drug abuse will continue in the foreseeable future. We realize, also, that we are the best organization to provide the best alternatives for people.”

Partners emphasized the importance of Indigenous leadership and culturally appropriate support for the largely Indigenous homeless population in Lethbridge, located 210 km southeast of Calgary. Speakers at the event noted the shelter’s success in connecting residents to addiction treatment, healthcare and long-term housing through collaboration with multiple organizations like Alberta Health Services.

The announcement of additional money will assist in short-term shelter for the city’s unhoused population, up to 90 per cent of which are Indigenous, said Jason Nixon, minister for seniors, community and housing.

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