City of Edmonton reveals plan to transition vulnerable population to new accommodations
EDMONTON -- With time winding down on the Edmonton Convention Centre's (ECC) use as a temporary shelter, as well as other large scale accommodations for the city's vulnerable population, plans for next steps are underway.
The temporary shelter at the ECC, known as Tipinawâw, is due to close April 30.
In collaboration with Alberta Health Services, Homeward Trust, and Alberta's Community and Social Service, the City of Edmonton will work to transition people from a small number of large shelters, like the ECC's Tipinawâw shelter, to several smaller facilities dispersed across the city.
In a news release, the city said that approach "helps to limit potential for large outbreaks and allows for services to be tailored at each location."
Hope Mission will be moving its overnight shelter operation from Commonwealth Stadium to the Spectrum building at the former Northlands horse track, south of the EXPO Centre.
Mustard Seed closed the doors to its temporary shelter on 99 Street on March 31.
Overnight services from that shelter have been moved to several churches and the Strathcona Neighbour Centre.
According to the city, up to 200 new transitional housing spaces, funded by Homeward Trust through federal money, as well as provincial shelter beds, will also supplement the large temporary shelters that are closing.
Daily drop-in services will operate with extended hours during the spring and summer.
Fifty-seven new spaces have been created at the City of Edmonton building at 10542 105 Street.
Boyle Street Community Services have added 45 spaces, and extended its hours from five days to seven days a week.
Bissell Centre will reopen 50 spaces with extended daytime hours, seven days a week.
Temporary washrooms will be made available in up to six locations from May to October.
According to the city, those washrooms will have staff on-hand to "monitor, clean and ensure the safety of users."
“COVID-19 has increased both the number of people falling into homelessness and the gap in services to support them," Christel Kjenner, Director of Housing and Homelessness for the City of Edmonton, said in the news release. "With careful consideration of available funding, spaces at facilities and resources, we are able to keep people safe during the pandemic by providing essential services and leading to greater housing outcomes.
“None of this would be possible without the tremendous collaboration of all parties involved.”
On Friday, city council approved $8.1 million from the COVID-19 Financial Stabilization Reserve to pay for the plan.