Statement: Alberta’s Homelessness Action Plan
The Edmonton Social Planning Council is cautiously optimistic about the Government of Alberta’s recent announcements of funding to address homelessness and the ongoing addictions crisis.
These announcements commit $63 million and $124 million towards social programs for homelessness and addictions over the next two years, respectively. Among the homelessness funding, this commitment seeks to expand the number of shelter spaces, shift provincially funded shelters to 24-7 access, pilot a service hub model to connect clients with supports, improve data collection, and equalize funding to community-based organizations. For the addictions response funding, this commitment seeks to support recovery communities, medical detox, therapeutic services, as well as harm reduction and recovery outreach teams.
In order to meaningfully address these persistent social problems, a coordinated approach among all levels of government is essential. The province making a funding commitment is sorely needed in order to make progress. On top of the supports to help persons experiencing homelessness, we will also need robust and consistent funding to increase the supply of adequate and affordable housing, which includes operating funding to run permanent supportive housing. On the addictions side, while $8 million has been earmarked for harm reduction, we would like to see more support allocated for this crucial component of responding to Alberta’s addiction crisis.
Announcements of this nature should serve as a beginning in the journey to uplift some of the most marginalized Albertans and do not represent the end. We expect the provincial government to continue doing its part in meaningfully addressing these issues.