This week, Express reporter Erin Fawcett has asked Councillor Buck Buchanan questions regarding the growing number of at risk, homeless youth in Red Deer and how the City can combat the issue.
"It's a growing problem in our community unfortunately," said Buchanan. "Obviously with Power Youth Initiative (a $1.3 million, three-year pilot project designed to be preventative in steering vulnerable youth away from the dire consequences of the streets, including homelessness) that was just announced is huge. It will target youth before they are too much at risk. So hopefully that will work out well for us and it will be an ongoing commitment."
The new initiative partners with the City of Red Deer Social Planning, Employment Placement and Support Services, the RCMP and Teen and Young Adult Sexual Health.
Buchanan added he is aware there are kids out on the street in Red Deer that need assistance.
"I know Street Ties is seeing over 40 youth a day right now so there are kids out there for whatever reason," said Buchanan. "Those are the kids that we're trying to get to."
He added those numbers are alarming.
"When you think of homelessness, you often think of adults and not of youth," said Buchanan.
"We need to help these kids before they become at risk or before they get out onto the street," said Buchanan.
He added once youth are on the street, it becomes a lot more than just trying to get them off.
"It becomes a health issue, a social issue, an education issue and so much more," said Buchanan. "It's all intertwined."
He added there needs to be more understanding of why youth are ending up on the street in the first place.
"In order to combat the problem we need to get to the root of it and go from there," said Buchanan.