The City of Lethbridge will put money left over from the $230,000 allocated to encampment cleanups into the Downtown Clean and Safe program to fund a crime prevention through environmental design matching grant. It matches funds from businesses affected by crime in the downtown area to improve security with upgrades to private property.
The grant originally had $98,000 from 2019-2022 and Andrew Malcolm, urban revitalization manager, says the funds have been used up and businesses are being turned down currently. He adds this money will act as a buffer until the next budget initiative for the next four years.
Of the funds allocated to encampment response, between $40,000 and $50,000 will be left over at the end of the year, according to Darrell Mathews, city treasurer.
Mike Fox, director of community services says contracts are in place to the end of the year to continue with encampment response.
“The reason that I brought this motion forward at all was basically as a result of numerous complaints from citizens and businesses regarding the high cost to protect their property from vandalism and theft due to the impacts of the ongoing homeless and drug crisis and associated crime and disorder in our city,” says Councillor John Middleton-Hope. “This program, Downtown Clean and Safe Strategy, is designed to assist citizens through a matching grant program to support their initiatives to make their properties and our city safer.”
The strategy is a blanket for multiple services, including the matching grant, outreach and the Clean Sweep program.
“When the Downtown Clean and Safe strategy was first approved it was really packaged as a box of band-aids to try and help those businesses and the community out with those negative affects — the CPTED grant in particular has been well received by those small businesses,” Malcolm said. “Typically they are at a point where they have dealt with a break in or a traumatic experience for them and this is a little bit of a hand out for them at that point in time.”