People who live in supportive housing have one thing in common: without help, they would struggle to find and maintain housing.
Some are elderly, some have young families, and some live with complex health challenges. Many have experienced homelessness, domestic violence or other traumatic circumstances. But when they walk through the doors of a supportive housing building, they find a permanent home. They sign a lease, pay rent, and live in a home they can decorate and make their own.
Every supportive housing site is unique. Developments have been designed around Indigenous culture, family supports, and experiences of addiction. There might be a cooking class in the common area, an Elder to help connect with culture, or someone to help plan out their finances. Services might include occupational therapy, addictions counselling or mental health support. No matter the time of day, staff are always on-site.
Supportive housing is a flexible model that includes a wide range of support levels. Referrals come from Homeward Trust and other social agencies, and sites are operated by committed non-profits that understand the particular needs of residents and neighbouring communities. Studies have shown that this ‘housing first model’ is an effective use of public resources, reducing the use of hospital beds and emergency services while reducing the social disorder caused by a lack of appropriate housing.
Over the last four years, the City of Edmonton has prioritized the development of much-needed supportive housing. Grants, land and expertise have been provided to community partners to expand the number of supportive housing sites in Edmonton. The goal is to ensure vulnerable Edmontonians have the safety and stability they need to thrive.
Supportive housing is ultimately about community. Instead of being left alone to struggle, hundreds of Edmonton’s most vulnerable community members will have a home where they can get the support they need.