Target exceeded with nearly 1800 Edmontonians housed
Mayor Stephen Mandel joined Anne Smith, Chair of the Edmonton Homeless Commission to release the Year 3 update on A Place to Call Home: Edmontons 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. The results are encouraging. Nearly 1800 Edmontonians are now housed in 1,237 units, 150% of the Plan's target for the first 3 years. Other results include:
- 85% of individuals have held onto their housing
- 319 new units are completed or under construction
- Three quarters of housing units secured were distributed across the city in the private rental market, thanks to partnerships with landlords
- 11 Housing First teams - including the first dedicated Aboriginal team - helped people transition into a new life off the streets
- Outreach services were expanded for homeless people with intensive needs
- The Welcome Home program was launched, matching volunteer companions from faith communities with newly-housed people to offer social interaction
The Plan is inspired by the Housing First principle: providing people with housing and supports prepares them to successfully build a new life for themselves.
Working together has been the key to the Plans success so far. Collaborating in the goal of ending homelessness sounds easy, says Anne Smith, Chair of the Edmonton Homeless Commission. But the reality is more complicated. Homeward Trust, the frontline agencies, the City of Edmonton, and the Government of Alberta have all worked in collaboration to house and support 1789 Edmontonians - creating a new model for success.
The Update also identifies challenges on the horizon for Year 4. Funding is now a significant issue. Continuing to house those who are homeless and keep them housed will require further investment in the Housing First program, capital projects, and rent subsidies. An additional challenge is how to house those with intensive needs effectively in long-term supported housing with health services attached.
Housing advocates agree that ending homelessness must become a community-wide effort. Jack Schultz knows the effect of a supportive community. I was homeless for 6 years before my housing. Thanks to Housing First, I now have a home with good supports. I belong to a community, and I have the opportunity to work a little bit when I am able to.For more information:
Jay Freeman - Executive Director, Edmonton Homeless Commission