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City ending temporary funding to expand homeless day shelter space

Edmonton City Hall. (FILE) Edmonton City Hall. (FILE)
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Temporary funding by the City of Edmonton to expand day shelter spaces at the Bissell Centre and Boyle Street Community Services is running out.

The city last year approved additional money for the shelters. The city's funding was originally brought in during the pandemic.

During a private meeting last week, city administration reminded councillors the funding was running low.

No one made a motion for additional support.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the funding was always meant to be a temporary emergency measure and falls outside the city's jurisdiction.

"Dealing with houselessness, dealing with shelter spaces, which have increased over the last few months, are provincial responsibilities, and we filled that gap during (the COVID-19 pandemic)," Sohi told media on Wednesday.

"I think at this time it is very difficult to continue to take on the responsibilities that the province should be meeting under their constitutional obligations."

Heather Barlow, the press secretary for the minister of seniors, community and social services, told CTV News Edmonton in a statement the Alberta government "does not fund daytime drop in services and has not historically provided direct funding to Boyle Street Community Services or the Bissell Centre."

"Significant funding is allocated to shelters that provide overnight accommodations and are funded to remain open 24/7 to provide supports for people experiencing homelessness," Barlow said.

"In 2024-25 funding for homelessness initiatives in Edmonton is $84 million that will support up to 1,800 shelter spaces. Neither Boyle nor Bissell have requested operational funding from the province."

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