Letter to the Editor: City’s plan for homeless applauded
Note: This letter to the editor was originally published in the Edmonton Journal on October 15, 2020.
The Edmonton Social Planning Council applauds Edmonton’s rapid plan to end homelessness in the city. With winter on the horizon and the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable and marginalized populations, quick action to address those living without stable housing is an ongoing and pressing concern.
Although a lot of progress has been made — homelessness has been cut in half since 2008 — 1,931 people are still experiencing homelessness as of September. This number has increased by about 20 per cent since August 2019 (when it was 1,607), which has placed Edmonton short of achieving the original 10-year plan to end homelessness (now in year 11) as laid out by the city and Homeward Trust.
Setting up a 24/7 accommodation site at the Edmonton Convention Centre followed by plans to transition recipients to bridge housing and permanent supportive housing has the potential to make up for lost ground in a relatively short period of time, if implemented correctly. This plan must be accompanied by measures that address root causes of homelessness, such as more affordable housing units with necessary supports for mental health and trauma-informed solutions.
We urge the municipal government to continue to work collaboratively with the provincial and federal governments, alongside community organizations delivering crucial frontline supports, to secure necessary funding and see this plan come to fruition.
Susan Morrissey, Executive Director
Edmonton Social Planning Council