At the moving executive committee on Wednesday, edmonton city council Passed increased funding for additional winters shelter spacebut before voicing frustration at the lack of planning and timeline delays for solutions to help the city’s most vulnerable.
City officials have proposed a solution to the winter shelter crisis. It’s a small hotel run by the Jasper Place Wellness Center, and we were able to secure a total of 209 spaces. Community health centers also work with hotels to provide additional support. Operating 150 meeting rooms and 59 private rooms will cost $7.5 million in six months.
As of this month, 2,706 people were homeless in Edmonton, and only 16% of them were in shelters, according to data collected by the Homeward Trust. 30% are in the open, 51% are in temporary custody, and the remaining 3% of him are missing.
The additional space proposed on Wednesday offers all those experiencing homelessness the chance to stay if they choose. It also provides shelter for West End homeless people who do not want to leave the community and seek shelter space downtown.
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Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the city hopes the shelter spaces promised by the state in the fall will be filled by now as temperatures are already dropping and winter is approaching. As for the shelter, we are waiting for the completion of the renovation of the shelter space.
“Do the states understand … Is this constant piecemeal approach they seem to be taking every year causing some of this challenge? It’s no wonder, because if you’re guaranteed a job for three, four, five months, and who can get a full-time job…it’s an ongoing struggle that we wrestle every year.” Ward Nakota Isuga Councilor Andrew Knack said.
“We now hear people dying on our streets…and it’s getting more frustrating to see year after year,” Knack said.
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During the November 9-10 cold snap, the shelter was 98% full, with 812 out of 827 beds filled. Another 408 of him used public transit, but were subsequently eliminated as part of the city’s safety strategy.
Last winter’s data showed that the nights with the highest shelter utilization were some of the coldest nights of the winter.
Depending on the night, city officials have already seen between 150 and 400 people in transit spaces seeking shelter and warmth this season.
“This was not unexpected for me,” said Ward Anilnik Councilor Erin Rutherford. She said these concerns were voiced in September, and that if the issues weren’t properly and promptly addressed, the situation would become what it is today.
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And now, with pushback from state governments responsible for funding shelter spaces, the city is shifting budgets to accommodate what the state doesn’t provide.
“What’s the price tag for dignity?” Rutherford asked the provincial.
“We cannot continue to fund systemic problems that are outside our jurisdiction,” she said. We need to consider whether we can.”
Knack called out the prime minister on Tuesday, who announced billions of dollars to help families struggling with inflation costs, but the city pushed back more than $7.5 million to help those who have no homes at all. is receiving
“If they used some of their $13 billion surplus, everyone in this state could have a home in less than a year.”
Complaints were also repeated from community services, who feel pressured that they hadn’t planned before.
Elliott Tanti, Senior Manager of Communications and Engagement, Boyle Street Community Services, said:
“We are a winter city and about 3,000 people experience homelessness in our city. It’s not a last minute thing because there’s a need.”
Tanti said he was happy to hear that plans were in place for the winter transition, but “it’s always a concern when camps are being demolished. The real problem here is where people go next.” It means that
“There will be encampments all over Edmonton until we find a practical solution for the people.”
Shelter is just one piece of the housing puzzle, says Tanti.
“I think we need to look at this challenge more holistically and think about what else we can do.”
A recent Shigella epidemic in the Edmonton camp also heightened the urgency to find a solution to the winter shelter shortage.
The Alberta Health Service has detected more than 170 cases of the virus in Edmonton, nearly 70% of which required hospitalization.
“We need to control the spread of this virus[so]so that more homeless people are not affected. We need to find good places for people to go, very densely packed and no access to washrooms or sanitation facilities, so we need to find places for people to go and have those supports available ‘, Sohi told Global News.
The city has also begun dismantling campsites that have received a lot of heat from Edmont residents over the past few years in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
The city has received at least 8,000 campsite complaints across the city, a 34% increase from last year.
In a presentation to city council members, city officials said they have additional funds to help reduce the spread of shigella.
“In partnership with AHS, the City of Edmonton has provided additional funding to expand operations of temporary washrooms, showers and laundry facilities in response to the Shigella outbreak,” city officials said. rice field.
Boyle Street is also distributing hygiene kits to people, providing them with the essentials they need to stop the spread of shigella. This is a temporary solution until shelter space and additional support become available.
All aldermen speaking at the meeting expressed support for the shelter proposal, but urged the province to help Albertans in need.
“I don’t want to be here again next year,” said Sohi, adding that more temporary and permanent housing solutions need to be presented.
— Using files from Sarah Komadina of Global News