Calgary

Calgary homeless shelter 'not concerned' funding may be cut after harassment allegations

The executive director of the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre says the agency has addressed concerns raised by the city and the province following allegations of bullying and harassment of some former staff.

Executive director says shelter has addressed concerns from two main backers following allegations

Debbie Newman has resigned as the executive director of the Calgary Drop In and Rehab centre. (Bryan Labby/CBC )

The executive director of the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre says the agency has addressed concerns raised by the city and province following allegations of bullying and harassment of some former staff at the shelter. 

However, a spokesperson for the city says the investigation is still weeks away from being completed.

Debbie Newman, who initially refused interview requests following a CBC report into alleged workplace abuse of some former employees, sounded confident the majority of the centre's revenue won't be affected by the allegations. 

"I'm not concerned. We have a good relationship with the province and the city, we have addressed their concerns, we have given them information about our policies and procedures," Newman said Wednesday from the fifth floor of the downtown shelter. 

​Newman says discussions with both levels of government were started immediately after the CBC reported the allegations. 

"All information has been given to the province, we meet with them on a regular basis, we inform them of what's happening with our programs, our direction as an agency, our strategic goals," she said.

Calgary contributes on average $500,000 a year to the shelter, while Alberta handed over $13.3 million last year. The two contributions make up more than half of the shelter's annual operating budget.

Investigation is ongoing

A spokesperson for the city told CBC News the investigation is ongoing and is not expected to be completed for several weeks. 

The city said last week that it has a variety of options once it gets the results of the investigation, including either continuing to fund the shelter or terminating its support.

The province is also investigating whether the shelter has breached the terms of its funding agreement because of the alleged workplace violations. 

A spokesperson told CBC News last week: "We're not looking to withhold funding from homeless Calgarians and people in need at this time. We're first working to ensure they comply with the conditions set out in their funding agreement and looking over their code of conduct and harassment policies," wrote Samantha Power in an email to CBC News.

Several former employees have said they were bullied and harassed by co-workers at the shelter and were either fired for speaking out or were left with no choice but to resign to protect themselves. 

Newman said she could not comment on the specifics of the allegations because they are still considered personnel matters. 

Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at bryan.labby@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Labby

Enterprise reporter

Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at bryan.labby@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.

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