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The City of Edmonton is proposing a new supportive housing development in Westmount. 

A proposal to sell City-owned land to Homeward Trust for the development will go to Executive Committee on March 1, 2021. The meeting agenda will be available on February 25, 2021 at edmonton.ca/meetings

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health risks associated with large group gatherings, all public participation at Council and Committee meetings is now being facilitated remotely. You can request to speak up until your item has been dealt with.

City Hall is closed to the public. The public is invited to view the meeting via Council on the Web or City Council's YouTube Channel.

If the land sale is approved, public engagement on a Good Neighbour Plan will begin in March 2021. Check this page for updates. Questions? Email supportivehousing@edmonton.ca

Learn more about supportive housing and previously approved developments in Inglewood, King Edward Park, Terrace Heights and Wellington. 

Virtual Information Session

Join the City of Edmonton and Homeward Trust for a virtual information session on February 25 at 7pm by clicking the video link below.

Send your questions to supportivehousing@edmonton.ca

Join our mailing list to receive project updates

Site Information

Address: 11039, 11045 and 11049 130 Street NW (City-owned parcels)

Number of Units: Approximately 60

Height: Maximum of 14.5 metres (approximately 4 storeys) 

Zoning: RA7 (low rise apartment zone)

Operator: To be selected by Homeward Trust through a competitive process

Doors Open: Late 2021

Site Visuals

Renderings will be added as they become available.

Additional Information

Site Selection

City policy C601 provides guidelines for identifying affordable and supportive housing sites. Ideal sites are ready for development, well integrated with surrounding land uses and built form, and close to amenities like transit, grocery stores, recreation centres, libraries and parks. 

The Westmount site was selected because the parcel is a regular shape and can be developed quickly. It is across from other multi-unit residential buildings and already zoned for our purposes. It is also located near Westmount Shopping Centre, Coronation Park, Woodcroft Library, and transit that connects to major transit hubs. Additionally, Westmount’s non-market housing ratio is below the City’s 16% target at 4.42%.

Zoning

The site does not need to be rezoned. The zoning is RA7 (low rise apartment zone). The maximum height is 14.5 metres, which allows for about 4 storeys. Multi-unit residential housing and supportive housing are permitted uses.

Design

The City's supportive housing developments will be architect-designed to fit in with the surrounding built form. They will also be energy efficient, exceeding the 2015 National Energy Code for Builders (NEBC) by 20%. 

The design for the proposed development in Westmount has not been finalized. The City is planning for around 60 units over four storeys. Artistic renderings will be shared with the community when they are available. 

Supportive housing residents live in bachelor, one-bedroom, or barrier-free suites for people with disabilities. The units are smaller than typical apartments, at around 300-500 square feet. Residents do not typically own vehicles, but parking will be available for staff and visitors. 

Operator

If the land sale is approved, Homeward Trust will act as property manager and select a qualified operator through a competitive process. Operators are typically non-profit social service agencies. Homeward Trust is a trusted community partner leading implementation of the City’s Plan to End Homelessness. Learn more at homewardtrust.ca.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about supportive housing and how it will fit in your neighbourhood. 

Virtual Information Session

A virtual information session will be hosted on this webpage on February 25, 2021 from 7-9 pm. Panellists will include representatives from the City of Edmonton, Homeward Trust and the Edmonton Police Service. 

Community members are encouraged to send their questions in advance or during the event to supportivehousing@edmonton.ca.

Sign up for our mailing list to receive updates about this event and other project news. 

Watch recordings of previous sessions on supportive housing: 

Panellists: 

  • Inspector Daniel Jones of the Edmonton Police Service
  • Ashley Baxter, Director of Community Programs and Services from Bissell Centre (a supportive housing service provider)
  • Emily Dietrich, Chief Programs Officer at Homeward Trust
  • Brendan Pinches, Program Manager at the City of Edmonton

Project Timeline

August – November 2020
  • Site identified for supportive housing
  • Homeward Trust identified as potential community partner 
  • Preliminary project planning
  • Funding application submitted

 

December 2020
  • Funding secured

January 2021
  • Information sharing with community stakeholders 

February 2021
March 2021
  • March 1: Land sale proposal to Executive Committee

  • Demolition of existing structures

The following milestones are subject to City Council's approval of the land sale 
March – April 2021
Summer 2021
  • What We Heard Report posted online and shared with community 

  • Construction begins 

Late 2021
  • Construction ends

  • Occupancy 
Spring 2022
  • Landscaping 

Community Notifications

Neighbours of the development site will receive notices in the mail related to project and construction milestones. Copies will be posted here to keep the broader community informed.  

Community Engagement

If the land sale is approved, the City and Homeward Trust will gather input to help the future operator create a Good Neighbour Plan. 

A Good Neighbour Plan is a tool for developing and maintaining a positive relationship between supportive housing and the community. It outlines the shared commitments of the operator and the community, and identifies who the community can contact with concerns. It will also include an issue resolution process for resolving concerns. 

A What We Heard report will be created at the end of the engagement process. It will be posted online and shared with the community.

Supportive Housing Stories

Learn about the lives of Edmontonians in supportive housing. These stories were collected by service providers at four different supportive housing residences. Names have been changed to protect privacy. 

 

Harris moved from river valley encampments to supportive housing

Harris grew up in New Brunswick, but moved to Alberta to work in a machine shop around 30 years ago. In 2001, he lost his job, and with few connections and resources, he found himself homeless shortly thereafter. He spent almost 7 years living in encampments in the river valley and struggling with addiction.

In 2014, Homeward Trust’s Pathways to Housing program staff met Harris and helped him access a place in supportive housing. He has experienced significant health challenges in recent years and has lost much of his mobility, but the supports and access to medical care available in supportive housing keep him comfortable. 

It took time for Harris to adjust to living in housing. After so many years sleeping outside and being constantly on alert, he struggled to feel secure in his apartment, and for the first year he always kept his things in a backpack by the door, afraid he’d be forced to leave. But in the 5 years he’s lived in supportive housing, he’s become adjusted, and likes the security of knowing he’ll have a safe place to sleep at night. 

Harris describes himself as a private person, but he enjoys the camaraderie of supportive housing, and having a place where he can put his things and enjoy some privacy. Because of his disability, he doesn’t go out much, but he likes to drink coffee from his favourite mug and watch black and white movies with other residents during the day, particularly Westerns. He’s also developed an interest in gardening and is looking after many plants in his apartment.

In terms of services, Harris gets help with accessing disability-friendly transportation when he needs to travel, grocery shopping, managing his AISH cheques, and taking his medication. He is still in recovery from drug use, but he is able to access weekly group therapy sessions to talk about addictions and recovery, and he makes use of the treatment programs that are available through the housing and medical staff.

When asked what he wishes people outside supportive housing knew about this type of facility, Harris said he would want people to understand that residents are just trying to get help, and that the dignity and safety they get from being housed is really important. For the future, he plans to continue living in supportive housing and getting treatment for his health issues and addiction. 

Darren, 24, says supportive housing has been "liberating"

Darren is 24 years old. He lives with Fetal-Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), but he didn’t get an FASD diagnosis until he was an adult. In the past, he had a hard time maintaining independent housing or living with family. He became connected with supportive housing through his social worker. While he has never been homeless, his worker felt he would benefit from the structure, support and community of supportive housing. His rent in supportive housing is paid through his AISH payments. 

Darren has been living in supportive housing for 3 years. For most of that time, he’s lived with his roommate Eric, who has become a good friend, and together they have a cat. On a regular day, Darren likes to visit the gym and the nearby library, and volunteers with a local community youth organization, where he is working with the staff to develop an anti-bullying program. He has previously worked part-time in retail positions when seasonal work was available; now he is working on building his resume with the help of the supportive housing staff. 

Darren said that moving into supportive housing has been “liberating” for him. He has people to help him manage his emotions and day to day tasks when he needs support. He has found a small community of people who understand his experience with FASD. Darren said that in his life, he’s found that “there are times in life when yourself isn’t enough, and sometimes it’s as simple as having someone there to help.” That help has allowed him to maintain housing and develop independence.

For the future, Darren is hoping to get his anti-bullying program off the ground. He would like to enrol in school to finish his GED through Norquest and eventually hopes to become a social worker, so he can give back the support he has received. While he doesn’t see himself moving out of supportive housing soon, he is hopeful that eventually he will feel secure and prepared enough to manage living on his own when he is ready. 

Leslie, a 63-year-old cancer survivor: "a little bit of hope can break a cycle"

Leslie left home in northern Saskatchewan when he was 13 years old — more than 50 years ago now. He had 50 cents in his pocket when he left, but he also took with him a knowledge of Cree and a strong respect for Indigenous ceremony. He struggled with addiction over the next several decades, travelling across Canada and falling in and out of sobriety.

Around four years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and received treatment in Red Deer. He lost the ability to walk, and was not expected to live, but he worked every day to walk again and reconnect with Indigenous ceremony. In the midst of his cancer recovery, he was invited by an Indigenous elder to come live in a supportive housing facility in Edmonton that is centred around Indigenous culture and traditions. 

For Leslie, the biggest impact of supportive housing has been that it has given him hope. He told us that “a little bit of hope can break a cycle,” and that the feeling of safety and stability he’s found in housing has been critical to his health recovery. The staff and residents participate in ceremony together, and that process has helped Leslie to gain a stronger sense of hope and self-worth, to ground himself in the community, and to take on a leadership role within the housing facility. Today, he has regained his mobility and is cancer-free. 

As he ages, and after experiencing significant health challenges, one of the things that Leslie thinks about in his supportive housing is death with dignity. In supportive housing, he’s seen other residents pass away, from old age or from illness, but they’ve been surrounded by staff and friends who help them pass comfortably and with dignity, and in some cases have helped them reconnect with family before passing. Leslie said that this kind of dignity and respect isn’t available for people who pass away while living on the streets. 

Today, Leslie is an active part of his community. He goes to garage sales and community events, and sells his painting, rattles and drums at craft sales in the area. He wants to continue staying in supportive housing and building the connections he has made with staff, other residents, and with his family.

Steven, a 4-year resident in a "stable, predictable environment"

Years ago, Steven was working in Halifax for the federal government. He had a family and a job, but he was also living with undiagnosed and untreated schizophrenia and depression. When he started to struggle, he lost his job, and things progressively fell apart. For years afterward, Steven was homeless and worked as a general labourer on construction sites across Canada, including in Edmonton.

Steven said it was particularly difficult to be homeless in Edmonton. He got into trouble with police for loitering in transit shelters to stay warm, and once got gangrene from untreated frostbite. Throughout all of this, Steven’s schizophrenia went undiagnosed, making it difficult for him to access the services he would need to get on his feet.

Eventually, the police who picked Steven up for loitering asked for a psychiatric evaluation, at which point he received a diagnosis and was placed in a medical facility, where he received treatment for a year and a half.

Steven was then referred to a supportive housing facility focused on individuals living with schizophrenia. Steven described supportive housing as “a stable, predictable environment,” which has been important for his mental well-being over the past 4 years. The community provides him with a good balance between socialization and privacy — he can go to his apartment when he feels overwhelmed or spend time with other residents in the common areas when he wants the company.

Steven likes the concerts and events that the staff sometimes host in the building for residents and the surrounding community, but other than that he doesn’t like to go out very much. He told us he doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. Sometimes he likes to go for walks or even occasionally make interesting purchases at Value Village.

For the future, Steven is hoping to stay in supportive housing. The help he receives in supportive housing, like medication management, assistance in managing his finances, and social support is important to him, and to maintaining a good quality of life.

When asked what he would like people outside of supportive housing to know about his experience, Steven said that while he knows his life story and day-to-day life might not be the same as a typical person, he feels safe and comfortable after many years of struggle, and is happy where he is.

For More Information

Email supportivehousing@edmonton.ca

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