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Northeast Edmonton community service hub hopes for funding boost from city

A one-stop shop helping welcome newcomers to Edmonton and support those in need is asking the city for a funding bump to continue delivering aid for the next four years.

Started in 2015, the Community 5 (C5) partnership combines programs and supports offered by Boyle Street Community Services, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre, and the Terra Centre for Teen Parents together under one roof to better serve the residents of northeast Edmonton.

For the past four years, C5 has received $300,000 from the city, along with additional grants from other government orders to administer its programming.

That funding agreement with the city ends on Dec. 31.

On Monday, the partnership presented to city council about its impact and is now asking councillors to support increasing its funding to $500,000 per year over the next four years, for a total of $2 million in taxpayer support.

Some of the services provided through the collaborative partnership include drop-in counselling, seniors drop-in programs, newcomer support, financial literacy, communal kitchens, culturally appropriate food, and an employment hub.

The C5 partnership also operates a youth hub at the Clareview Community Recreation Centre to offer a career exploration lab and free access to the rec centre.

Additionally, a community market offering free produce and non-perishable food to those struggling with food security or culturally appropriate food for newcomers is stocked by the C5 groups in partnership with the Edmonton Food Bank.

Tim Cartmell, ward pihêsiwin councillor, said the collaboration solves a problem many face when trying to locate support services that are spread across the city.

"To have everything in one place, even if you do have to move one desk down, it is just one desk down," Cartmell told CTV News Edmonton. "It all happens there. It is a really terrific model."


Over the past three years, more than 11,500 people took part in the pantry and hub programming offered by the C5 agencies, including 987 immigrants, refugees, Indigenous and other newcomers to the city in 2021 alone.

The funding increase sought by C5 would be used to offset increasing operating expenses for services and the kitchen and continue to meet the needs of an increasing client base.

Hannah Storvold, C5 director of strategy and advocacy, told CTV News that if a social agency wanted to provide all the services C5 offers, it would cost much more than what the city provides.

"Each of the five agencies that are part of this partnership are heavy-hitters," Storvold said. "Tax dollars are going so much further with an investment in the C5.

"We are not recreating the wheel or duplicating services. We are really making every dollar stretch," she added.

Hermes Aleman stocks a shelves at the C5 Community Market in northeast Edmonton (CTV News Edmonton/Jeremy Thompson).


Storvold recognized the city has a "tough budget" discussion this fall as inflation rises but says the C5 partnership provides on-the-ground support to those who need it most.

"It's really about treating families and individuals holistically and having the services and support come to them rather than making them chase them and really integrating those supports," she said. "We really see so clearly that the outcomes are so positive."

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi wants the collaborative non-profit partnership to receive the funding increase.

"I think if we can demonstrate that value to the province, (this) might be an opportunity for us to expand this model to other parts of the city," he told city council.

After touring the C5 Hub in northeast Edmonton, Jo-Anne Wright, ward Sspomitapi councillor, said every quadrant of the city should have a similar space.

Councillors and Mayor Amarjeet Sohi attend a committee hearing on Aug. 8, 2022 (CTV News Edmonton/Jeremy Thompson).

The group presented to council's community and public services committee, who voted unanimously to recommend city council increase C5's operating budget.

While many councillors support C5 and its work, they're also bracing themselves for a post-pandemic budget without much wiggle room.

For Cartmell, several charities are asking for funding from the city, and the difficult part will be deciding which ones will receive city resources.

"All of these groups are doing good work and need the resources," he told CTV News. "How do we divvy up the pie? It's going to be very challenging." Top Stories

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