Great Success in the First Year of Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
April 29, 2010
More than 500 people who were formerly homeless are now living in a home of their own, just one year after the launch of Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.
“This is success far beyond what we anticipated,” said Anne Smith, Chair of Edmonton’s Homeless Commission. “This plan sets a target of securing 150 homes for people in its first year. In fact 424 permanent homes have been found.”
Smith gives much credit for the success in this first year to the City of Edmonton for its leadership and support, and to the Province of Alberta for its significant financial commitment. Alberta is the only jurisdiction in Canada which has developed a plan to end homelessness.
“As well, the guidance provided by Homeward Trust has been outstanding,” said Smith. “Through its efforts we now have a Housing First Action Centre, which co-ordinates the delivery of outreach services, secures housing and co-ordinates the provision of support services to the newly housed.”
“The work being done by our city’s agencies and front line workers is remarkable,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “And equally impressive is the determination I see from people who are being housed. Determination to turn their lives around.”
Dianne (not her real name) is one of those people. She grew up in and out of foster homes, was sexually abused by family members. As a teenager she started drinking and taking drugs, and got involved with gangs. She had children of her own, who were eventually put into government care. She then spiralled further downward into a life of prostitution and homelessness.
Diane’s life began to change when she heard about Homeward Bound, a Housing First program run through the YMCA Transitional Housing Facility. With the help of staff there she found a home. Now, six months later, Dianne’s still living in her house, raising her three-month old baby. She’s been to drug relapse prevention and parenting classes. She receives income supports and is working to get her basic ID and open a bank account. She wants to complete high school, get post-secondary training and reconnect with her other children.
Year one highlights of Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
- 424 supported housing units secured, far exceeding the target of 150 units set for 2010.
- 546 people housed.
- A Pathways to Housing program has been developed, helping people with the most challenging and complex needs find a safe home.
- A Rapid Exit Program has been established at one shelter, where support workers help people in need find secure, stable housing.
- A Housing First Action Centre has been established, to coordinate the delivery of programs. The Action Centre negotiates with private landlords for provision of units throughout the city. No more than 20% of the units in any one building are to be set aside for the program.
- Edmonton’s first furniture bank has been established.
“A year ago we made a commitment that by 2019 every Edmontonian will be offered a home of their own,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “There is still a lot of work to be done.”
Front line workers implementing the 10 year plan say one of the challenges they face is their clients battling loneliness. Work is now ongoing to find innovative ways to have neighbourhoods welcome those moving in, and to help people in new homes become contributing members of their new communities.
“We must keep the momentum going,” said Mayor Mandel. “We Edmontonians pride ourselves on our caring compassionate community. We all have a role to play in supporting this plan, and to end homelessness in our city.”
For more background information please visit: www.endedmontonhomelessness.com
For more information:
Edmonton Homeless Commission