COLD LAKE - This winter, the John Howard Society will be extending a helping hand to those experiencing homelessness in Cold Lake.
Known for its commitment to assisting those in need, the Cold Lake branch of the John Howard Society actively supports community members by promoting awareness of social justice, crime prevention, and public safety education.
At the core of the Cold Lake John Howard Society lie deeply rooted values that guide their mission and vision, similar to the principles of the John Howard Society of Alberta.
In emphasizing the City of Cold Lake’s steady commitment to people's well-being, Mayor Craig Copeland highlights the critical role played by the municipality in supporting causes that truly matter. "City council is supportive of the John Howard Society, and the volunteers and staff who are working to help individuals that are without a place to live and or in need of a meal. The shelter is intended to get people out of the elements,” said the mayor.
"The John Howard Society does a wonderful job of helping out individuals in need,” added Copeland.
Program Manager with the Cold Lake John Howard Society Leona Heisler brings attention to the concern of rise in food insecurity, which has led even those not in need of shelter to seek food.
“Last month, we served 874 meals. When we first started, we were only serving 300 [meals] a month. Food insecurity is quite a problem. [People] may afford their rent but not anything to eat."
Heisler further highlights that a significant proportion of the intakes are local residents of Cold Lake, stating, "The majority of our clients are from this area, about 89 per cent of them residing in Cold Lake."
Individuals facing homelessness have access to an important range of services offered by the program. These vital services include shelter, meals, hygiene facilities, addiction support, and housing assistance.
The Cold Lake John Howard Society remains committed to positively impacting the lives of those in need. Their programs have resulted in tangible results, helping a number of individuals regain their footing, secure employment, and find stable housing.
Heisler reflects on these accomplishments, stating, “We’ve had people who have been successful in getting housing - people who have left here and gotten jobs.”
Individuals in need of assistance are encouraged to visit the John Howard Society, situated at 4716 40 Avenue, where intake services are accessible until 11 p.m. Inside the facility, dedicated professionals are available to provide support with essential needs such as securing identification, housing, employment, and counselling.
Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week