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Thread: Housing crisis: Rent controls, rally's, tent cities, RV...

  1. #101

    Default Edmonton students face rising rents

    Edmonton students face rising rents

    Wed, August 8, 2007
    By GLENN KAUTH, SUN MEDIA


    There are plenty of apartments for students to rent this September, but finding the cash to pay Edmonton’s rising rents is another matter, says an official with a local housing website.

    “It’s a very tight market,” said Marc Dumouchel, the manager of the online housing registry for the University of Alberta, NAIT and Grant MacEwan College. But, he added, “the bigger issue is the affordability.”

    Dumouchel said he’s seen rents go up by as much as 50% since last year. Of the 52 one-bedroom units listed on the site, only 18 are under $700. Currently, the site has about 460 places up for grabs, 300 of which are rooms. Even some of those are going for $800.

    “It’s getting a little crazy,” Dumouchel said.

    Janelle Morin, a fourth-year English student at the U of A, is familiar with how hard it can be to find a reasonably priced apartment in Edmonton. After leaving the university’s residence when rents went up 10%, she scored a bargain recently with an $1,100-a-month two-bedroom suite. But, she said, it took her almost three months to find it.

    “I spent a lot of time searching and I looked at some terrible, terrible places,” she said. In some cases, high-priced apartments were covered in mould or were in disrepair, she noted.

    Morin, 21, added the housing crunch is especially difficult for university students since they often need to live in central locations where rents are highest.

    Steven Dollansky, a vice-president with the University of Alberta Students’ Union, said the problem is made worse by the lack of residence spaces in Edmonton. As a result, he’s calling on the city to relax restrictions on secondary suites in order to increase the housing supply.

    “The problem is students are on a fixed income,” he said, adding that students are increasingly turning to renting rooms or to secondary basement suites, many of which “are technically illegal.”

    [email protected]

    -30-

  2. #102
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Phair is seemingly untouchable whereas Nickel is not...

    Not fair but it is politics.
    Phair isn't running, whereas Nickel is.

  3. #103

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Phair is seemingly untouchable whereas Nickel is not...

    Not fair but it is politics.
    Phair isn't running, whereas Nickel is.
    That is only part of it IMO.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Phair is seemingly untouchable whereas Nickel is not...

    Not fair but it is politics.
    Phair isn't running, whereas Nickel is.
    That is only part of it IMO.
    On the whole, I found Nickel to be the most sensible councilor in this group of incumbents. But I guess his opponents have to get their shots in whenever they can.

  5. #105

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Phair is seemingly untouchable whereas Nickel is not...

    Not fair but it is politics.
    Phair isn't running, whereas Nickel is.
    That is only part of it IMO.
    On the whole, I found Nickel to be the most sensible councilor in this group of incumbents. But I guess his opponents have to get their shots in whenever they can.
    ^ I have found Councilor Nickel to be one of the most vocal I'll give you that.

    I am no opponent to any of the incumbents or the potential newbies. And unless they represent my ward (2) or are against something that I believe is best for the city as a whole I am more than happy to let them do their (thankless and underpaid for the responsibilities and rancor they face) job.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    I have found Councilor Nickel to be one of the most vocal I'll give you that.
    Agreed. My guess would be that he is second only to Hayter.

  7. #107

    Default Moral betrayal at Monarch

    Moral betrayal at Monarch
    Shock that low-income housing is sold after being built on subsidy


    Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 09, 2007 2:22 am


    Call it the Mess of Monarch Place.

    Two years ago, the Red Deer apartment complex opened as a refuge for people with disabilities, for people fleeing spousal abuse, for people who just couldn't afford to pay the fast-rising market rents in Red Deer, where the vacancy rate hovers between 0.5 and 2.0 per cent.

    The $5.8-million, wheelchair accessible, three-storey building had 65 units.

    Twenty-six were designated as affordable units. Twenty were set aside as transitional homes for people going through short-term housing crises. There were also 19 units renting out at market rates.

    Monarch Place was built with the help of a $1.3-million joint federal-provincial grant and $500,000 from the City of Red Deer.

    CHURCH PROVIDED LAND

    The neighbouring New Life Fellowship Church provided the land -- when a site for low-income housing was hard to come by, the church stepped up, welcomed the project and sold the land for less than its full market value.

    And a not-for-profit group, the Innovative Housing Society -- formerly known as the Handicapped Housing Society of Alberta -- had a 20-year contract to run the facility for Red Deer's disadvantaged and disabled.

    But last month, Monarch Place officially went condo.

    In a move that shocked the building's low-income tenants and the city of Red Deer, the Innovative Housing Society had quietly sold the building to a numbered company for $6.8 million.

    That numbered company flipped the building to a second numbered company, which in turn sold off the units to private buyers.

    The numbered company bought the building at a price that worked out to roughly $100,000 a unit.

    It sold the condos to individual buyers for about $150,000 to $185,000. Now, those private purchasers are reselling their units for $200,000 and up. Some tenants have been allowed to stay, but most have been asked to pay far more rent -- 50 to 100 per cent more in some cases.

    HOLD MY TONGUE

    Innovative? Well, that's one word for what's happened. It's not the one I'd choose. But then, my word of choice wouldn't be printable in a family newspaper.

    The folks at the Innovative Housing Society insist they had no choice but to sell the building. It had become too expensive to operate, they say. They had to sell or put their other operations at risk.

    The society says it contacted various officials and other not-for-profit groups, but no one offered any other solutions to their money problems.

    But those protestations ring hollow. It beggars belief that those Innovative thinkers really exhausted all their other options before exiting their contract, selling the building and throwing their vulnerable tenants to the tender mercies of Red Deer's rental market.

    Exactly how hard did they work to find another solution to their financial woes?

    However, the housing society broke no laws or rules.

    It has to pay back a pro-rated portion of the grant money it received from the feds, the province and the municipality.

    Otherwise, it seems the contract had no language that forbade the agency from selling Monarch Place.
    The real shock, given how lax the rules seem to be, is that we haven't seen more such incidents around the province. It seems pretty naive of our governments to assume groups will live up to some moral responsibilities to build and maintain affordable public housing without any contractual protections in place.

    In this province we rely more and more on not-for-profit agencies to build and operate our affordable housing.

    Often that works out splendidly.

    But other times even well-intentioned social agencies lack the resources, the experience, the financial expertise and the qualified staff to do the job.

    Earlier this decade, Edmontonians lived through the disaster of the Cloisters.

    The Edmonton Housing Trust Fund gave a local not-for-profit called Aboriginal Partners and Youth Society a $436,500 grant to run a 31-unit apartment block in Norwood as supportive housing for young aboriginal families.

    But the Cloisters degenerated into filthy and dangerous slum housing, a haven for gangs and drug dealers. The program was shut down, the agency was convicted of 34 public-health offences, and the apartments were bulldozed.

    At the time, the Edmonton Housing Trust Fund acknowledged it didn't have the checks in place to make sure that its monies were being spent responsibly. And that's the nub of our larger problem.

    We clearly need tighter provincewide controls on the agencies that build and run our social housing, firm legal language that prevents moral betrayals like the one at Monarch Place. But in this crazy real estate market we also need to ensure that the not-for-profit groups we entrust to run our affordable housing programs have the resources and support to handle the responsibilities we've thrust upon them.

    In this boom cycle, when it costs more and more to build and operate an apartment complex every week, governments can't just hand some small not-for-profit group a grant, then walk away without monitoring to make sure the agency has the capacity to do the job.

    The residents of Monarch Place have had the rug ripped out from under them.

    But while it's tempting to condemn the Innovative Housing Society that sold them out, or the condo buyers who are evicting them, it's our elected officials we need to hold accountable, for failing to head off this mess in the first place.

    The need for affordable, accessible housing in this province has never been more pressing.

    For heaven's sake, let's get the rules and regulations in place now to ensure that any new projects work the way they're supposed to.

    [email protected]

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  8. #108

    Default New funding helps residents of tent city

    New funding helps residents of tent city
    Workers help find housing for homeless, offer support to keep them there


    Alexandra Zabjek, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 11, 2007 2:05 am


    Sandy Ericson and her team of Boyle Street Co-Op outreach workers fan out across tent city on a damp Friday morning.

    It takes about an hour to visit the tenters, most of whom the team knows by name.

    By the end of the visit, team leader Ericson has an inventory on movement within the camp: two people have said they will return to their First Nations reserve next week; one woman has agreed to sign into an alcohol treatment centre; another woman left Thursday night for a spot in an affordable housing unit.

    Ericson and others are working the front lines to find housing for people still living in tents behind the Bissell Centre downtown.

    It hasn't been an easy task. Approximately 20 people from the makeshift camp have been housed, while dozens of others have left for different destinations -- maybe a home in another province or perhaps a tent in another part of Edmonton.

    But efforts to find homes for the 90-odd people left in tent city are ramping up. Both the Boyle Street Co-Op and the downtown YMCA are receiving funding through the Edmonton Housing Trust Fund for outreach workers to work specifically with those in the tents.

    The key, says Ericson, is not only to find people affordable apartments, but also to provide the supports needed to keep them there.

    "People will want to pay back a favour to someone who helped them out when they were on the street," she says. "You end up having 10 people in a two-bedroom suite ... Sooner or later, someone will notice."

    Support workers can tell unwanted visitors to leave, even if a tenant feels they "owe" them something.

    Support workers also develop relationships with landlords. So if there's a problem with a tenant, the landlord calls the support worker -- and not the police.

    This kind of intensive support is also the focus of a soon-to-begin pilot project, funded by the provincial government through the Edmonton Housing Trust Fund, says Susan McGee, the fund's acting director.

    The fund will provide almost $5 million over the next two years to agencies to hire support workers.

    "We're trying to demonstrate over the course of two years that by ensuring that there's either 24/7 or specific kinds of support in place, we can keep people housed and get them housed faster," McGee says.

    At tent city, Ericson and Cam McDonald from the YMCA are also focusing on a "housing first" approach to the homeless population. At its heart, the approach entails finding accommodations for an individual before worrying about anything else.

    "People will say, 'if I go into treatment, I don't want to come back to this tent'," explains Ericson.

    Getting people into a safe house might also encourage them to start thinking about changes they need to make in their lives in order to stay there.

    "Sometimes housing them will start the process," says Ericson.

    But the Boyle Street Co-Op and other agencies are facing another challenge: the lack of affordable apartments.

    "Our number (of placements) always look small, and part of it is because of the housing situation right now," says Ericson.

    The YMCA, which started working actively in tent city at the beginning of August, placed four people in its downtown location over the past several days, McDonald says.

    [email protected]

    TENT CITY

    - Peak population: over 200 people

    - Current population: about 90

    - People housed: about 20

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  9. #109

    Default Nickel was right

    Nickel was right

    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 11, 2007 1:52 am


    I wish to respond to two Aug. 8 letters to the editor condemning Coun. Mike Nickel for his remarks in relation to the destruction and devastation left by the homeless persons who set up house in the River Valley and under bridges.

    Nickel spoke the truth.

    I ask both Sarah Nicolai ("Councillor insensitive to plight of homeless") and G.A. Teske ("Comments 'disgusting") what they have done to ease or rectify the homeless situation. What would happen to our beautiful river valley if the city did not employ park rangers to clean up the messes these pitiful persons leave? When you point a finger at someone, remember that you also have four fingers pointing in your direction.

    I have personal experience in this matter. These people are living there courtesy of the city, and eating courtesy of the Salvation Army, the Bissell Centre and the Mission, which receive donations from the city, various businesses, and individual citizens.

    Do not speak ill of our councillors, who have important business governing our city. Yet they make a trip to these sites to learn for themselves what is going on.

    Anders Roald Anderson, Edmonton

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  10. #110
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    If it was up to me, I would send in every cop and Mountie in the region to do a sweep of the river valley, force the campers to clean up their crap and then ship them out of town with one-way tickets. That is how much their river valley pollution is angering me.

  11. #111

    Default Squatters lack access to services

    Squatters lack access to services

    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: 12 August 2007 2:22 am


    The Journal's Aug. 8 front-page photo of the mess made by people living in the river valley is provocative.

    How many times has The Journal featured photos of the local landfill? The difference is that people with homes are also provided with clean and efficient services that remove the unsightly leftovers of their consumer lifestyles. Homeless people have no such services.

    I hear the argument: People with homes pay taxes for such services. Poor people pay taxes, too. And all kinds of people attended the Heritage Festival last weekend which, when I arrived Saturday afternoon, had garbage cans overflowing and plastic bags piled high with other refuse.

    None of us is innocent in terms of creating garbage. So why does The Journal choose to show the most vulnerable of society in such an unfair light?

    Poverty and homelessness are created as byproducts of an inefficient and flawed economic structure that demands a certain percentage of unemployment. I suggest a humane and compassionate approach, with understanding and sympathy, is a more viable solution than blaming the victims.

    Janine Bandcroft, Victoria, B.C.

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  12. #112

    Default No need to destroy area

    No need to destroy area

    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: 12 August 2007 2:22 am


    Re: "Brothers living in ravine find sibling's body: Four camped under tarps beneath bridge," The Journal, Aug. 7.

    I seldom agree with Coun. Mike Nickel, but in this case I have to.

    On my last trip to Edmonton, I took a walk through the river valley. The damage these squatters are doing is disgusting.

    Living in a tent is one thing, but destroying the area around you and leaving piles of garbage and human waste is another.

    True, these people won't pay fines, but a few days in jail might convince some of them to clean up their act or go elsewhere.

    I am not against people living in tents, only those who dump garbage all over. There is no need to destroy the area you live in.

    Steve Ballantyne, Hinton

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  13. #113

    Default Quiet at tent city Residents feel safer after fence goes up

    Quiet at tent city
    Residents feel safer after fence goes up


    Sun, August 12, 2007
    By CARTER HAYDU, Sun Media


    Since the metal fence went up around Edmonton’s tent city two weeks ago, campers have enjoyed peace and quiet, says a shantytown resident.

    “I feel safer. It’s a lot quieter,” said Corrine Houle, 37, adding she sleeps easier under the constant security supervision.

    The city erected the chain-link fence at 10527 96 St., behind the Bissell Centre, on Aug. 1. Since then, security has monitored the enclosure constantly, making sure nobody new enters the camp.

    Capital Health also issued identification cards for campers. The photo ID allows residents to enter the provincially-owned lot. Houle has been at tent city since it opened in June. She said before the fence went up, the lot was beginning to get crowded, noisy and violent.

    “There were different people fighting.”

    Now, she said the tent city atmosphere is pleasant and easy going.

    “People just seem to stick to their own tents.”

    Shelley Williams, Bissell Centre executive director, said she finds more tent city campers seem to like the metal fence than dislike it.

    “One woman said to me, ‘I can sleep now without one eye open,’” she said.

    Williams said she believes having the tent city next door to the Bissell Centre has made delivering service easier for the estimated 120 homeless now staying on the lot, as they don’t have to walk far for assistance.

    “It’s convenient for the people and we’re there for the people.”

    But Williams said she knows campers can’t stay on the lot forever, which is why the Bissell Centre, as well as several other community agencies, are trying to find new homes for tent city residents.

    Houle said if temperatures drop significantly anytime soon, she has a friend in the city with whom to stay.

    She said she isn’t too worried about finding her own apartment – she works on an oil rig during the winter and lives in the work camp.

    “So I’m just waiting for the cold weather,” she said.

    Dean Cardinal, the self-proclaimed “mayor” of tent city, said he does his best to help fellow campers connect with local organizations, so they can find homes before winter arrives. Cardinal said he won’t be satisfied until every tent city resident has a safe place to stay.

    “I’ll be the last person to leave this place.”

    Cardinal said part of his role as unofficial mayor is keeping the peace amongst residents. Since the fence went up and security began monitoring the area constantly, he believes violence between remaining campers has declined.

    “It’s made my job a lot easier.”

    [email protected]

    -30-

  14. #114

    Default City can't stop condo conversions

    City can't stop condo conversions

    Mon, August 13, 2007
    By CARTER HAYDU, Sun Media


    City Hall is helpless to stop condo conversions in Edmonton, says mayor. Stephen Mandel said he looked into whether the city had the authority to implement a moratorium on condo conversions, only to discover it doesn’t.

    As long as there’s no zoning change requirement, Mandel said the city can’t do anything. For Edmonton’s Patty McCulloch, losing her Ascot Gardens apartment to a condo conversion is more than a little upsetting. It’s scary.

    “I’m terrified. I can’t afford $1,200 a month for a (different) two-bedroom apartment. I’ve got two kids,” she said.

    McCulloch received a three month notice at the end of July. Her apartment building will be torn down to build condos. She has lived in the apartment for about a year, but said some tenants have been there for decades.

    McCulloch said she was very upset city council would ever allow the apartment building to be torn down, as it leaves her and other other tenants looking for a place to live. However, Mandel said stopping condo conversions is a matter of legislation and is therefore a job for the province.

    “I think the government will have to make some decision to deal with this.” Mandel said it’s important for the city to support Premier Ed Stelmach’s initiative to get the region to work together, making housing more affordable in Edmonton, as conversions can make life difficult for lower-income Edmontonians.

    “That’s the part of the marketplace that’s being dramatically impacted by this mammoth growth we’re having.”

    Mandel said he doesn’t oppose property owners trying to make a profit during Alberta’s boom. However, he said what’s profitable for people at the higher end of the economy isn’t very beneficial for those at the lower end.

    “I’m not against profit. Profit makes the world go around. But there’s a variety of sides to the profit and a variety of sides to how to make it equitable. “If you’re in the apartment, you might have a different view than if you own the apartment.” McCulloch doesn’t think too much of an apartment owners’ quest for profit, if it leads to hardship for Edmontonians. “Greed is what it boils down to,” she said.

    Mandel suggests the mass conversions of apartments to condos might eventually lead to an end of the practice. He said as more and more converted condos flood the market, the increased supply could lower the demand for such units, thus lowering the cost.

    If condos are worth less money, than there’s less incentive to convert. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as many as 1,000 Edmonton apartment units are converted to condos each year.

    However, Richard Goatcher, local CMHC senior market analyst said just because an apartment is turned into a condo, doesn’t mean the renter is necessarily evicted.

    The Edmonton rental vacancy rate for 2007 is expected to be squeezed to around 0.7%.

    -30-

  15. #115

    Default City can't stop condo conversions

    City can't stop condo conversions

    Mon, August 13, 2007
    By CARTER HAYDU, Sun Media


    City Hall is helpless to stop condo conversions in Edmonton, says mayor. Stephen Mandel said he looked into whether the city had the authority to implement a moratorium on condo conversions, only to discover it doesn’t.

    As long as there’s no zoning change requirement, Mandel said the city can’t do anything. For Edmonton’s Patty McCulloch, losing her Ascot Gardens apartment to a condo conversion is more than a little upsetting. It’s scary.

    “I’m terrified. I can’t afford $1,200 a month for a (different) two-bedroom apartment. I’ve got two kids,” she said.

    McCulloch received a three month notice at the end of July. Her apartment building will be torn down to build condos. She has lived in the apartment for about a year, but said some tenants have been there for decades.

    McCulloch said she was very upset city council would ever allow the apartment building to be torn down, as it leaves her and other other tenants looking for a place to live. However, Mandel said stopping condo conversions is a matter of legislation and is therefore a job for the province.

    “I think the government will have to make some decision to deal with this.” Mandel said it’s important for the city to support Premier Ed Stelmach’s initiative to get the region to work together, making housing more affordable in Edmonton, as conversions can make life difficult for lower-income Edmontonians.

    “That’s the part of the marketplace that’s being dramatically impacted by this mammoth growth we’re having.”

    Mandel said he doesn’t oppose property owners trying to make a profit during Alberta’s boom. However, he said what’s profitable for people at the higher end of the economy isn’t very beneficial for those at the lower end.

    “I’m not against profit. Profit makes the world go around. But there’s a variety of sides to the profit and a variety of sides to how to make it equitable. “If you’re in the apartment, you might have a different view than if you own the apartment.” McCulloch doesn’t think too much of an apartment owners’ quest for profit, if it leads to hardship for Edmontonians. “Greed is what it boils down to,” she said.

    Mandel suggests the mass conversions of apartments to condos might eventually lead to an end of the practice. He said as more and more converted condos flood the market, the increased supply could lower the demand for such units, thus lowering the cost.

    If condos are worth less money, than there’s less incentive to convert. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, as many as 1,000 Edmonton apartment units are converted to condos each year.

    However, Richard Goatcher, local CMHC senior market analyst said just because an apartment is turned into a condo, doesn’t mean the renter is necessarily evicted.

    The Edmonton rental vacancy rate for 2007 is expected to be squeezed to around 0.7%.

    -30-

  16. #116

    Default A landlord's market

    A landlord's market

    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: 14 August 2007 1:10 am


    Recently, I had to find a residence in Garneau. I had a few months to find a place, and was actively looking in the area and at a number of options.

    I was disheartened by what I encountered. The places I viewed were often shabby, rundown and overpriced. Many landlords should be ashamed of themselves, as they overcharge those who seek a post-secondary education and betterment of their lives.

    Lorna Sutherland, Edmonton

    -30-

  17. #117
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    Default Re: A landlord's market

    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    A landlord's market

    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: 14 August 2007 1:10 am


    Recently, I had to find a residence in Garneau. I had a few months to find a place, and was actively looking in the area and at a number of options.

    I was disheartened by what I encountered. The places I viewed were often shabby, rundown and overpriced. Many landlords should be ashamed of themselves, as they overcharge those who seek a post-secondary education and betterment of their lives.

    Lorna Sutherland, Edmonton

    -30-
    the "other side" of this issue is that - despite what is being reported in the media - edmonton rents have fallen between 7 and 10% in the last 4 - 6 weeks. as mls sales have slowed considerably and inventories rise, many of those units are not as saleable at the prices desired and are being rented in order to recover some costs instead of having them stay vacant. in a market with not much vacancy, if you are a major landlord with 100 units, a vacant suite or two will not have much impact. when you are speculating with one or two suites, a vacant suite or two will provide a great deal of incentive to react much more quickly to minimize your exposure and salvage your investment as you don't have a large portfolio to average out the risk.

    ir it makes lorna feel any better, it is the speculators and/or those prone to gouging, not repsonsible landlords, that will end up holding the bag. it's just too bad the city put another 3,000 plus units on hold recently which will slow the market down from reaching the equilibrium it always comes to.

  18. #118

    Default Speak up about substandard housing accommodations

    Mice 'were running everywhere'
    University students urged to speak up about substandard housing accommodations


    Alexandra Zabjek, The Edmonton Journal
    Published:August 16, 2007 2:36 am


    Edmonton's tight rental market could be prompting students and other low-income renters to keep quiet about sub-standard accommodations out of fear they won't find another place to live, say those familiar with the city's housing market.

    "It could be predictable that if there is a housing crunch, people may be concerned about complaining because they might be evicted," said Nick Skippings, Capital Health's manager of environmental health, the department that investigates the city's rental housing.

    Skippings said the assessment is based on "gut feeling," and the health region is receiving about the same number of complaints as last year. Concerns about derelict housing, however, are spreading beyond the inner city to the west end and even Mill Woods, he said.

    In the university area, student Yo'vella Mizrahii recently moved into a house at 79th Avenue and 115th Street that was infested with mice -- and their droppings -- and had a non-functional toilet and back door. Mizrahii spent several days calling exterminators and cleaners to make the house habitable. She was unwilling to call Capital Health because of her lack of housing options.

    "I'm just concerned that because of the desperation of a lot of students, especially the ones coming from out of town, that they're going to move into the place out of desperation and like myself aren't going to report it or say anything because they don't want to be left without a home," she said.

    Mizrahii will soon be leaving the house. She decided to move after a cluster of mice scurried out from under a couch she was sitting on: "They were running everywhere and I flipped."

    Skippings encouraged people to call Capital Health with any concerns about their accommodations. Even if people don't want to lodge a formal complaint, they can learn more about their rights and responsibilities under the Public Health Act and what they can do about potential health hazards, he said.

    "We don't necessarily have to receive a complaint to investigate," he said. "We'd rather they discuss the issue with us and make sure they're protected rather than just ignore it."

    Capital Health will close down a house only as a last resort when tenants must be removed to protect them, Skippings said. He gave the example of a structurally unsound building that is in danger of falling down. Otherwise, the health region may issue repair orders to landlords, who can be prosecuted if they don't comply.

    Steven Dollansky, from the University of Alberta Students Union, said many students raise concerns about safety standards in secondary suites and accommodations that might not be meeting health standards. But "students are so desperate to find somewhere to live ... that they're having to settle on that type of accommodation and that's troubling."

    [email protected]

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  19. #119

    Default Shipping containers for housing?

    Shipping containers for housing?

    Aug, 17 2007 - 6:20 AM

    EDMONTON/630 CHED - A northwestern Alberta community wants to use old steel shipping containers for housing.
    Grande Prairie housing consultant Shelley Middleton says using containers, more commonly found on cargo ships, as low-cost housing is not new, noting several American communities use them.

    She says with 11 (m) million dollars, the city could build around 100 one- and two-bedroom units using 160 old shipping containers.

    Grande Prairie is sending the shipping container proposal, along with 10 other proposals, to the Alberta government, with hopes of tapping into new housing dollars announced in the province's spring budget.

    - AW/BN

    -30-

  20. #120

    Default Central rental registry proposed: Landlords say not needed

    Central rental registry proposed
    Landlords say its not needed


    Gordon Kent and Jeff Holubitsky, edmontonjournal.com
    Published: 18 August 2007 8:02 pm


    A proposal to establish a central rental registry in Edmonton is winning support from housing advocates, but landlords are not convinced the service is needed.

    With vacancies low, many people are having a hard time finding affordable housing: it's the main reason for calls to the non-profit Support Network's 211 referral line, according to a city report.

    Although Edmonton social agencies run five provincially funded housing registries aimed at inner-city residents, aboriginal families, disabled people and seniors, a central registry could act as source of rental information for all tenants, the report says.

    Many post-secondary institutions also help students find accommodation.

    "I think the major thing is just convenience, particularly for renters ... when you have a market like we have now, you can spend a lot of time trying to find a place," says Jay Freeman, director of the city's housing office.

    "Right now, it's mostly the old-fashioned way, beating the pavement and reading the newspaper. When you have a vacancy rate of one per cent or less, that's got to be a pretty frustrating experience."

    No details on how the registry might operate have been examined. Freeman thinks the idea is worth more study, but he doubts it would have much impact on the cost of rent.

    The report recommends meeting with people interested in the scheme, figuring out how much it would cost and talking to technical experts to develop a system that would be accessible to everyone.

    The Edmonton Joint Planning Committee on Housing is willing to oversee the establishment of a register, and the Support Network is interested in operating it, the report says.

    But Ben Seutter, president of the Edmonton Apartment Association, questioned the need for such a service, saying classified ads, websites, window signs and other information sources give potential tenants numerous ways to find a place to live.

    Even a one-per-cent vacancy rate means there are about 1,000 suites available in Edmonton in any given month, he said. "I don't see it being all that crucial."

    Although Seutter has not seen the report, he's concerned a public registry could compete for listings with private companies, and wonders who would pay for it and whether users would be screened.

    Protesters calling for rent controls outside the legislature Saturday said they liked the idea of a registry, but didn't know how much it would do to solve Edmonton's housing problems.

    "For people with money who just need to find a place, I think it would be good," said Corey Archer. "But I think, really, affordability is the big issue."

    His brother, Cameron, agreed. "I don't think it's a bad idea, but I think it depends on how much it costs. There are so many people who can't afford the housing and I think something should be done about that."

    About 150 people took part in the rally to push the province for more affordable housing, which started with a march from city hall.

    "I am really angry at the way Edmonton and this province treats the people who come here," said Caroline Cambre, a University of Alberta graduate student from Ontario.

    Cambre and fellow student Andrea Dalton lost their accommodations on campus two years ago when a residence was converted to office space. Since then they have struggled with rent increases of several hundred dollars a year.

    "Rent control has worked in other provinces, notably Ontario where we are both from," Cambre said. "This is not a place that honours its citizens and the work they do, so honestly I am leaving this province the moment I can and I'm never coming back."

    © Edmonton Journal 2007

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  21. #121

    Default

    ^ Please start listening and changing this...this is the image Edmonton is acquiring and I am not proud of it nor do I want it to continue unabated.

  22. #122

    Default Boom for whom? Protesters see economic contradiction

    Boom for whom?
    Protesters see economic contradiction


    Sun, August 19, 2007
    By NICKI THOMAS, SUN MEDIA


    Cecily Poohkay wears her impression of current affordable housing, a cardboard box, as she participates in the Boom for Whom? march and rally for affordable housing that ended at the Legislature Grounds yesterday.

    Almost 200 people marched from City Hall to the steps of the Legislature yesterday afternoon to call attention to "the economic contradiction taking place in Alberta."

    The contradiction is that while a hot economy should attract newcomers, it is actually driving people away from the province, says Greg Farrants, spokesman for Albertans Demand Affordable Housing (ADAH).

    Demonstrators addressed the various problems caused by Alberta's hot economy - from homelessness to a lack of affordable housing to environmental destruction caused by oilsands development.

    Noel Somerville, from the Public Interest Alberta Seniors Task Force, expressed his concerns about the fate of seniors living on fixed income.

    "Too many seniors are falling through the cracks," he said, explaining that many seniors can't afford rising rents but also can't find space in long-term care facilities.

    Somerville blamed cutbacks from the Klein era for the lack of a social safety net in Alberta.

    Lindsay Telfer of the Sierra Club called on Premier Ed Stelmach to put the brakes on development and accused the premier of turning a blind eye to the social and environmental destruction caused by the oilsands.

    "We've got to tell Stelmach this boom has gone bust," she said. "And we're not going to stop until we get this province back."

    ADAH member Lynn Sutankayo listed three demands of the provincial government: that 25% of new developments be designated as affordable housing, that rent control be enforced across the province, and that one per cent of federal and provincial budgets be set aside for affordable housing.

    Between speakers, there were performances by musical and theatrical groups, including crowd favourite, the Raging Grannies.

    Farrants said the mix of art and politics draws people in and keeps their attention.

    "Now it's not only a lecture, it's an event," he said.

    The rally was the second event organized by ADAH.

    The grassroots, non-partisan group formed in May with the intention of addressing social issues caused by Alberta's booming economy.

    Their first rally, held in June, focused on Edmonton's growing homeless problem.

    Farrants said ADAH's next rally, tentatively scheduled to take place next month, will focus on the student housing shortage plaguing university and college students.

    "So many students are actually detracted from coming to Alberta because they don't want to deal with the hassle of finding housing," Farrants said.

    -30-

  23. #123

    Default Plea for student housing triples spaces for rent

    Plea for student housing triples spaces for rent
    Boom in listings as homeowners open up rooms, suites


    Heather Schultz, The Edmonton Journal; With files from Jamie Hall
    Published: 21 August 2007 1:10 am


    A tight rental market has loosened somewhat as Edmonton residents respond to a plea for affordable, student-friendly rooms.

    "It's an empty room," said Kim Quan of the partially furnished room he listed on a housing website. "It's been open for a long time."

    Quan, like others, responded to a desperate plea from the University of Alberta Students' Union a couple of weeks ago. At the time, the union was concerned space was running out for the thousands of price-sensitive students beginning classes in September.

    "We received a spectacular response from the community," said union vice-president Steven Dollansky. "We're optimistic that students will have a place to call home come September."

    Rentingspaces.ca, an online housing registry for the University of Alberta, Grant MacEwan College and NAIT, had a substantial jump in advertisements after news of the shortage got out.

    "We've almost tripled in the number of listings we have in Edmonton," said Marc Dumouchel of the website. Since Aug. 11, nearly 500 new ads have been posted on the site, which now contains listings for 556 rooms and 230 suites of various sizes.

    Dumouchel said the response has been so strong it has driven the price of rooms down a bit. They've even received calls from residents offering rooms for rent in nearby communities such as Morinville, Beaumont and Fort Saskatchewan.

    Current room listings range from $250 to $800 per month, with the average around $550, he said. Bachelor suites and one bedrooms are also popular choices.

    Quan was using his extra space as a computer room, but is shuffling furniture around. He started receiving responses from as far away as China the same day he listed the room for $375.

    Quan's only stipulation was that the student speak Cantonese because his mother, who lives with him part time, doesn't speak much English.

    The student he chose is from Vancouver and is coming to Edmonton next week for law school.

    "It seems to be a pretty nice guy, from talking to him on the phone," he said.

    Other family homes are still open.

    "We haven't had one phone call," said Jim Monson. He and his wife listed a room in their home, near the LRT, last Tuesday for $500.

    They haven't rented out a room before and are looking for a serious student, preferably a quiet, international female.

    Despite the response, the student union isn't resting easy.

    "We're happy with the response we got from the community in the short term, but we want to talk about long-term solutions, too, so we don't have to face this problem next year," Dollansky said.

    Dollansky said they will be pushing for the construction of new university residences, among other things.

    [email protected]

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  24. #124

    Default

    Edmonton Sun Letters
    Augsut 21, 2007


    Affordable housing in Alberta? Non-existent! That's why I left Alberta.

    Edward Ward

    (Most cities are expensive.)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I keep hearing about affordable housing, but what does that mean? Who gets to live there? Why should the person next to me be subsidized while I am not? Why should those who work hard carry the rest? All kinds of demands are being made to fix our housing problems, but I've yet to hear anyone clearly define the problems or how to measure the success of any initiatives before asking for gazillions of taxpayer dollars.

    R. Chmilar

    (Taxed to the max, eh?)

    -30-

  25. #125

    Default City considers affordable housing rules

    City considers affordable housing rules

    Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 21, 2007 8:25 pm


    Developers could be forced to dedicate at least five per cent of units in residential construction projects to affordable housing under a proposed city policy.

    But the idea is meeting fierce opposition from industry groups and could become mired in murky provincial legislation.

    Such a policy would be a first for Alberta, although similar programs have long been enacted in British Columbia, Ontario and across the United States.

    Commonly called inclusionary housing policies, they are based on the idea that local or provincial governments can legally require the provision of affordable housing as part of residential developments. Developers are usually offered incentives, such as higher density allowances or fast-tracking of approvals for projects. Sometimes, developers will contribute cash to affordable housing funds in lieu of actual units.

    The Edmonton policy, which city staff have been working on since early this year, is expected to come before council this fall. The policy's goal is to increase affordable housing options across the city, said Jay Freeman, director of the city's housing office.

    "We want to ensure that housing is interspersed. We don't want to lump it in one area or community. We want it to be indistinguishable - we don't want to be able to pick out affordable versus market housing. And we want to make sure it's affordable long-term," he said.

    In January, a developer seeking a rezoning application for a project in the city's north end offered to sell five per cent of the suites to the city for 15 per cent below market price. It was the first such agreement between a developer and the City of Edmonton, but Freeman noted such an arrangement would not work with every new housing project.

    "Even if you're getting a unit at below market price, you wouldn't want to buy a $2-million condo. It's just not justifiable," Freeman said. "It's not likely that we'd want to do single detached homes...but the policy has to be equitable. It's not fair to say we're only going to require this for high-rise condo developments. You can't pick one portion of the market."

    He declined to elaborate how the policy might include various types of projects. In other cities, however, developers sometimes offer cash in lieu of units. In Vancouver, developers building new neighbourhoods must make 20 per cent of land available to the city for affordable housing projects.

    In Edmonton, the development industry has been staunchly fighting against the city's proposed inclusionary housing policy.

    "We think affordable housing is not just the responsibility of the new home industry, but it's everyone's responsibility," said Ray Watkins, chairman of the Urban Development Institute, Edmonton chapter.

    Forcing developers to provide affordable housing units will drive up prices in other units, Watkins argued. He added that the affordable housing crunch will be solved by increasing the number of homes on the market.

    Watkins and the institute are also arguing that an inclusionary housing policy would be illegal in Alberta.

    "We think the policy is really a taking of an asset from a private person without the proper compensation and this isn't authorized under any provincial law, and certainly not under the Municipal Government Act," Watkins said.

    That claim is now being debated by several groups in the province.

    The City of Edmonton is preparing a formal request for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to amend legislation in order to make it "perfectly clear" that inclusionary housing policies are legal, said Freeman from the city's housing office.

    When the province's affordable housing task force reported to the government earlier this year, it also recommended the government review the act in order to support flexible zoning and incentives such as density bonuses. At the time, the government rejected the recommendation, stating the act "allows municipalities to develop lands as they deem appropriate."

    But a spokesman for the ministry said the department is currently "getting a clarification" on the issue of inclusionary zoning policies.

    "There have been enough enquiries that we're clarifying it," said Robert Storrier, a ministry spokesman.

    Coun. Michael Phair said he is not optimistic the province will accept inclusionary housing policies in the near future, but defended council's decision to create a policy for the city.

    "By putting the request out, it begins to describe what council would like to see," said Phair. "It lays the groundwork for asking for changes in provincial legislation."

    Phair noted that some developers are already offering affordable housing in exchange for increased density allowances, but "it doesn't make up for the fact that if we had legislation it would be automatic for everyone," he said.

    [email protected]

    © Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  26. #126
    Addicted to C2E
    Mr. Reality Check

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Edmonton, Alberta
    Posts
    11,259

    Default Re: City considers affordable housing rules

    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    City considers affordable housing rules

    Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 21, 2007 8:25 pm


    Developers could be forced to dedicate at least five per cent of units in residential construction projects to affordable housing under a proposed city policy.

    But the idea is meeting fierce opposition from industry groups and could become mired in murky provincial legislation.

    Such a policy would be a first for Alberta, although similar programs have long been enacted in British Columbia, Ontario and across the United States.

    Commonly called inclusionary housing policies, they are based on the idea that local or provincial governments can legally require the provision of affordable housing as part of residential developments. Developers are usually offered incentives, such as higher density allowances or fast-tracking of approvals for projects. Sometimes, developers will contribute cash to affordable housing funds in lieu of actual units.

    The Edmonton policy, which city staff have been working on since early this year, is expected to come before council this fall. The policy's goal is to increase affordable housing options across the city, said Jay Freeman, director of the city's housing office.

    ...
    There is a thread on this one:

    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...pic.php?t=4418

    and if "affordable housing" is the goal, this one misses the mark by a long shot.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

  27. #127

    Default Minister to study NY homeless

    Minister to study NY homeless

    Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 22, 2007 8:04 pm


    Housing Minister Ray Danyluk is heading to Toronto and New York for four days at the end of the month to look for solutions to Alberta's homeless problem.

    "Toronto and New York are addressing homelessness through innovative programs that help the homeless transition from shelters to market-housing," Danyluk said. "These programs are successful in helping the homeless in these large cities, and we can learn a great deal from them as we address housing issues in Alberta."

    Danyluk and three of his staff will meet with senior housing officials in both cities. In New York, the city has instigated a massive $7.5-billion affordable housing strategy. It also have strict rent controls.

    Danyluk will tour homeless shelters in both cities. The trip will cost about $11,000.

    © Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  28. #128

    Default Calls for rent control are futile

    Calls for rent control are futile

    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: August 23, 2007 1:10 am


    To all of those distraught people who protested skyrocketing rents, regrettably, we've fallen by the wayside.

    We should all forget it. Our protest is just another day at the office for this provincial administration. Simply put, rent controls won't happen because we plebians don't have the money to lobby the government that landlords do.

    Do you see a pattern here?

    Deregulated utilities, Ralph Klein's attempt to get out of medicare, and now the nonchalant attitude toward impoverished renters -- this government doesn't care about middle-income, or lower-wage earners. Let's save our protest for the next election.

    Allan McGurran, Edmonton

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  29. #129

    Default Housing fund blasted: Disabled man...

    Housing fund blasted
    Disabled man, family forced to live in van after eviction


    Thu, August 23, 2007
    By BROOKES MERRITT, Sun Media


    A disabled Edmonton man says his family is forced to live in their van because the provincial government’s new Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Fund is a boondoggle.

    “It’s run by two departments and neither knows what the other is doing,” John Foulkes, 55, said yesterday.

    “I have a letter from Alberta Works saying I’ve been approved for the HEP funding. Meanwhile AISH is telling me I don’t qualify.”

    Foulkes, his wife, daughter, two cats and a dog have been looking for a home since they were evicted from their previous apartment in July.

    Foulkes claims AISH officials promised to cover moving and storage expenses until they found a new home but backed out when the bill was delivered – offering to pay just 20% of the total cost. Now local NDP MLA Ray Martin is going to bat for Foulkes.

    “He qualifies for the HEP but the government is too busy bickering about which bureaucracy is responsible for it to help him. This has been dragging on for nearly a month and John is living in his van. The government should be doing something to help him now.”

    Foulkes said he expected it to be easier to get a helping hand after the government created the $7-million HEP fund in April.

    The money was designed in part to help struggling Albertans get into new housing leases, which can cost thousands given the standard first-and-last-month’s rental payment requirement. People apply for funding approval through the Alberta Works department, which administers the fund, explained Martin’s assistant Barb McLean.

    “But AISH has to reapprove things too because they actually hand out the money,” she said. The NDP say this creates a mess of red tape and finds each bureaucracy passing the buck back to the other.

    Things are further complicated because Alberta Works and AISH also fall under different provincial ministries, McLean said.

    “These agencies keep refusing to move on John’s case until the other moves first. It’s created a stalemate and in the meantime his family is still living in a van.”

    Neither Foulkes’ AISH case worker or an Alberta Works supervisor was available for comment yesterday.

    -30-

  30. #130

    Default Squatter gets the boot: Doesn't know where to go

    Squatter gets the boot
    Doesn't know where to go


    Fri, August 24, 2007
    By CARTER HAYDU, SUN MEDIA


    Surrounded by human excrement, syringes and trash, EPS Const. Ryan Lawley opened the door to a derelict downtown back alley trailer yesterday and politely evicted homeless Edmontonian Kelly Blackwater, who was squatting in the condemned structure.

    Despite being kicked out of the small stinky trailer she snuck in to a week earlier, Blackwater was in high spirits, although her speech was a little slurred, as she packed her few belongings into a grocery cart and headed off to her next destination - wherever that may be.

    DOESN'T OWN A TENT

    "I don't know (where to go). I'll have to figure that out," said Blackwater, adding she tried to get into tent city before breaking into the nearby condemned trailer, but was turned away because she doesn't own a tent.

    However, Susan McGee, acting executive director with the Edmonton Housing Trust Fund, said it wouldn't matter if someone had a tent or not.

    No new residents have been allowed into tent city since the fence went up around the shantytown at 10527 96 St. on Aug. 1.

    Of the 120 campers who remained on the lot following the added security measures, McGee said Boyle Street Community Services and the YMCA have found homes for about 30.

    Noel Jerguson is one of the 80 remaining tent city campers. He said he hopes the community agencies can find him a home soon, especially since the weather is getting colder. "The snow is going to fly."

    In the meantime, he said onsite security guards keep the area safe, kicking residents out whenever they become rowdy.

    TEN LEAVE TENT CITY

    Over the past three weeks, 10 tent city residents have either been removed by security or left on their own.

    Lawley said many homeless Edmontonians would rather live in derelict buildings than the security-monitored tent city because they are free to do whatever they want.

    But Lawley said he can't let the squatters stay in these vacant structures because the city would be liable if they got hurt. "Most times, these buildings were closed for a reason ... they're unfit for human habitation."

    Lawley, who regularly checks these buildings, said there are about 200 unlivable buildings on police files all over the city.

    -30-

  31. #131

    Default Mentally ill need housing: advocates

    Mentally ill need housing: advocates
    Fix homelessness first, national commission on mental health told


    Mike Sadava, The Edmonton Journal
    Published: Sept. 03, 2007 1:50 am


    The new national commission on mental health should not overlook the huge effect homelessness has on people suffering from mental illnesses, say Alberta advocates.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday the membership of the Mental Health Commission of Canada -- which he said will take measures to eliminate the stigma of this illness that affects millions of Canadians at some point in their lives and create a national strategy to deal with it.

    But as many as 75 per cent of homeless people suffer from mental illness, and they are unlikely to get proper treatment if they do not have adequate shelter, said Austin Mardon, who suffers from schizophrenia, and who this year was named a member of the Order of Canada for his advocacy work.

    "If somebody has problems, how can you take the pills that are necessary for your health if you don't know where you'll be sleeping?" Mardon said Sunday.

    "The pills are likely to get stolen or lost."

    Many people with illnesses such as schizophrenia find it difficult to get housing for many reasons, such as discrimination by landlords and potential struggles to handle the demands or follow the rules of running a household, he said.

    "For the hard-core mentally ill, it's not just a matter of getting cheap housing, but getting supportive housing," he said.

    That means having help from staff to make sure they take their medications, attend doctor's appointments and get some kind of proper nutrition.

    A national report released last week by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows that mental health problems were responsible for over half of the hospital stays of homeless people, compared to five per cent for the general population.

    The Canadian Mental Health Association has been dealing with the housing issue for years, including a major conference called Housing First held this spring in Red Deer.

    Tom Shand, executive director of the Alberta division of the CMHA, said shelter and safety are fundamental needs for everyone, and being on the street contributes to mental health and addictions problems, and reduces the likelihood of getting access to proper treatment.

    "The most important thing is to get them off the street and into a secure place to live," Shand said.

    This doesn't mean a temporary situation like a shelter for a day or a week, but a more permanent housing, he said.

    "People will have a chance, although there will be setbacks, to recover and to have a better quality of life," Shand said.

    "Most of these people have strength to survive day to day that is more than we can imagine, but they don't get a chance to make inroads into these issues."

    Shand applauded the goal of removing the stigma of mental illness, which he said prevents people from seeking help.

    If people lose that fear and get treatment earlier, their illness will not be as severe and the associated social problems will not be as serious, he said.

    [email protected]

    © The Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  32. #132
    Addicted to C2E
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    North of Little Italy
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    770

    Default Re: Squatter gets the boot: Doesn't know where to go

    Quote Originally Posted by CARTER HAYDU, SUN MEDIA
    [i]Fri, August 24, 2007

    Surrounded by human excrement, syringes and trash, EPS Const. Ryan Lawley opened the door to a derelict downtown back alley trailer yesterday and politely evicted homeless Edmontonian Kelly Blackwater, who was squatting in the condemned structure.

    Despite being kicked out of the small stinky trailer she snuck in to a week earlier, Blackwater was in high spirits, although her speech was a little slurred, as she packed her few belongings into a grocery cart and headed off to her next destination - wherever that may be.
    Who will buy rental housing then let this woman move in to destroy their investment? Would you???

    Would you want your tax dollars used to put this woman next door to your home? Seriously - would you???

    Why does the media never highlight that many of the homeless are homeless because of the lifestyle choices they make???

  33. #133

    Default Edmonton's "homelessness plan" for winter is passe

    Edmonton's "homelessness plan" for winter is passed

    Sep, 11 2007 - 3:10 PM

    EDMONTON/630 CHED - City council has passed the homelessness plan for this coming winter and it appears clients won't need to be bused to outside of the down town, as first thought.

    Susan McGee, of the Edmonton Joint Planning Committee on Housing, tells 630 CHED News the Y.M.C.A. can handle more mats than was considered when the report was released last week.

    McGee says, at the end of October, the "Y" will vacate its current building for its new one ...

    "The timing is very good for us because that's typically when we start needing to expand. The Hope Mission, right now, if it's not available for a couple of weeks, I think we'll still be okay."

    The program still needs to sort out funding with the city and province.

    Scott Johnston

    -30-

  34. #134

    Default YMCA set for Emergency housing

    YMCA set for Emergency housing

    Gordon Kent , edmontonjournal.com
    Published: September 11, 2007 5:45 pm


    Organizers of emergency winter housing for homeless people now hope they can avoid busing anyone to temporary shelters outside downtown by using the old YMCA building instead.

    The facility could hold 250 people sleeping on mats in the exercise centre and other areas being vacated when fitness equipment is sent to the new Don Wheaton Family YMCA, says Susan McGee, executive director of the Edmonton Joint Planning Committee on Housing.

    That's more than double the original estimated capacity for the site at 10030 102A Ave., she said Tuesday. It could be ready by early November, around the time the Winter Emergency Response Plan is due to kick in, she said. The $2.8-million emergency plan indicates a total of 350 extra mats are needed this winter. The remaining spaces can be created at existing downtown shelters, she said.

    There had been concerns that with Edmonton's tight real estate market, up to 200 people would have to be taken each evening to an overflow facility outside downtown, such as a warehouse in an industrial area or a vacant school. "If we have to look at a remote space and bus, not only is there a cost, but ... there are a lot of issues when you bus homeless people into communities," McGee said.

    However, there's no signed deal to put this program in the Y. Edmonton YMCA chief executive officer Franco Savoia said he has questions about the proposal. For one thing, about 130 residents already live in transitional housing at the facility, and it probably isn't feasible to add another 250, Savoia said. "We have a regular housing program here where people are staying three months, six months (or longer). To bring in double the people we have here, just think of the impact there would be on 102A Avenue. There would be a rebellion."

    He's also not certain when space will be available, saying crews are still working at the new building on 102nd Avenue and the moving schedule is tentative. Savoia is continuing discussions to determine whether the non-profit organization should become involved in the emergency housing plan. "We will seriously consider it, but we just can't say we will do it holus-bolus. We have to think it through," he said. "We don't want people freezing in the cold."

    City councillors approved the housing plan during their final meeting before the Oct. 15 election. The plan, devised by several community agencies, also includes health and family services, extended hours for drop-in warming centres, and a $1 million contingency in case of extremely cold weather or larger-than-expected demand.

    Most of the money for the program will come from the province. Edmonton now has 786 permanent shelter beds. A count done last fall found the city had 2,618 homeless people, up 19 per cent from 2004.

    [email protected]

    © Edmonton Journal 2007

    -30-

  35. #135

    Default Council passes housing pilot projects, fight against it cont

    Council passes housing pilot projects, fight against it continues

    Sep, 12 2007 - 5:10 AM

    EDMONTON/630 CHED - City council passed the two pilot projects for building 'deferred cost' condos on vacant school land, without any debate. The controversial one is in Millwoods, because residents of Greenview are staging an eleventh hour fight and they're not giving up.

    They've only begun to fight. Nel Anderson is looking to make it an election issue.

    "Until the purchased contract is complete and the hole is dug, we're not going to give up," Anderson said. "We're going to continue our fight through the election, we're going to continue trying to make Dave Thiele see the light, that Woodvale is not in support."

    Anderson says there are better locations for the initial trial. Mayor Stephen Mandel says there is plenty of support, and dissenters should get involved, to get the condos built to their liking.

    "They will have their input, and then from there we'll build sometihng that will give first-time home buyers an opportunity to have a good life in the city of Edmonton," Mandel said.

    The deferred program means qualified buyers can purchase the home now, and pay for the land five years later when their financial situation improves. The Catholic School Board unanimously approved the plan at its meeting on Monday night.

    Scott Johnston

    -30-

  36. #136

    Default Election a chance to help the homeless

    Election a chance to help the homeless

    Edmonton Examiner Editorial
    September 26, 2007


    More than a week after the Alberta government shut down tent city in Edmonton’s downtown core, agencies are still scrambling to find homes for the makeshift community’s displaced residents.

    It’s fitting that all this is happening as politicians hit the campaign trail to win a spot on city council.

    While the creation of tent city – and its predecessors in years past – have brought attention to the plight of the homeless people in this city, it should be remembered that homelessness is not new to Edmonton.

    What is new is the number of people who are homeless, and the desperateness of their situation.

    The Alberta boom has brought a flood of people to the city who have capitalized on the abundance of jobs and escalating pay scales. But it has also drawn a lot of people to Edmonton who, for a variety of reasons, haven’t been able to or simply can’t make a go of it in this city’s overheated economy.

    Edmonton has a number of agencies staffed by people who are committed to help society’s less fortunate members. But as the number of people who need their help grows, these agencies are finding themselves stretched to the limit of their resources.

    And as soaring house prices make average Edmonton homeowners increasingly wealthy – on paper, at least – the downside is hitting this city’s less fortunate hard. Increasing competition is driving up rents throughout the region and shelter that just years ago would have been snubbed by all but the most desperate of society are now being snapped up as perfectly acceptable starter accommodation. This is the age of the fixer-upper.

    The result is that as the supply of housing alternatives for the desperately poor shrinks, their ranks continue to grow, putting additional strain on the temporary shelters that exist in the city.

    While city politicians say they are confident Edmonton will have sufficient shelter for its homeless population during the coming winter, the fact remains that homelessness will continue to be a growing problem for the foreseeable future.

    There has been talk among some politicians of eradicating homelessness in Edmonton in 10 years. That’s a laudable goal, one that should be shared by every candidate in this municipal election.

    If candidates are looking for advice on the issue, there are more than enough experts – people who are experiencing it right now – to staff every campaign.

    -30-

  37. #137

    Default Re: Trailer park may help homeless

    I just read an article (from Edmonton journal) in a real estate agent flyer the other day, that states Edmonton is the third most affordable city in Canada behind Montreal and Ottawa when you look at incomes levels. Not surprisingly, Vancouver was least affordable.

    Are we sure we really have an affordability crisis? Yes, the city is less affodable for some (esp. seniors and young families) than it used to be. But, it appears that while housing has got more expensive, this is not a phenom unique to Edmonton, it just took us a little longer to catch up.

  38. #138

    Default YMCA looking to build 150 transitional housing units

    YMCA looking to build 150 transitional housing units

    Ron Chalmers, edmontonjournal.com
    Published: October 25, 2007 5:32 pm


    Article Link:
    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjourna...6b8f00&k=11115

    Edmonton YMCA president Franco Savoia is looking for land near the downtown, and funding near $20 million, to build 150 units of transitional housing.

    If the project proceeds, the YMCA will sell its old building, at 10030 - 102A Ave., to the Sutton Place hotel.

    The YMCA may be best-known, in Edmonton, for fitness centres, such as the Don Wheaton Family facility that will open, Nov. 24, on 102nd Avenue, south of City Centre Mall. But "the YMCA has been doing transitional housing since 1907," Savoia said, Thursday.

    He envisions a cluster of low-rise apartment buildings with 75 units for single men and women, and 75 units for families.

    Transitional housing clients typically have problems such as unemployment, alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness, Savoia explained, so the housing would be accompanied by programs to help them overcome those problems.

    "We want to create a village with child care and a playground, and provide support for people until they can get into more permanent housing," Savoia said. "The stay with us could be up to three years."

    He estimated that the project would cost $20 million to $25 million, with the YMCA contributing $3 million. He hopes the provincial and municipal governments will contribute the balance.

    During construction, the old building, which has 106 units with shared bathrooms, would remain in use, then be sold at market value.

    Bob Caldwell, with the city's planning department, said he is helping Savoia look for suitable land in or near The Quarters area between 92nd Street and 97th Street, from 103A Avenue to the top of the river valley.

    Such a central location would be convenient for residents but less expensive than downtown, Caldwell said.

    Neighbourhood response to the proposed project could be an issue, depending on its specific location, he said.

    "It would have social and recreational space, and blend into the community," Savoia said. "This would not be a ghetto."

    Caldwell agreed that it could operate with no adverse effects. "It's all about management," he said. "If the right organization manages such a facility, it works."

    Richard Wong, general manager of Sutton Place Hotel, immediately west of the old YMCA building, said the hotel owners have not decided whether they would retain or demolish the old YMCA building, or whether the hotel would expand onto that property.

    "We want to revitalize this corridor in some form that would complement businesses in the area as well as the hotel," he said.

    Savoia hopes for provincial and city commitments by the end of the year.

    If the YMCA can't raise the money, "we'll stay where we are," he said.

    [email protected]

    © Edmonton Journal 2007
    -30-

  39. #139

    Default Housing crisis worsens

    Housing crisis worsens
    3,000 families seek a roof over their heads as shelters turn people away


    Thu, October 25, 2007
    By JEREMY LOOME, LEGISLATURE BUREAU


    Article Link: http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Edmo...03598-sun.html

    The waiting list for affordable housing in Edmonton now tops 3,000 families and has grown 20% in the last six months, the director of the city's subsidized housing agency said yesterday, despite provincial and city government efforts.

    Meanwhile, city shelters have begun turning people away due to the increased demand, following a cool October.

    When high rents and skyrocketing home prices prompted protests at the legislature in the spring, the list totalled 2,500 names. While government programs to subsidize people being gouged for rent increases have kept some people in their homes, the list of those simply looking for a place to live continues to worsen, said Cynthia Hanley, of the Capital Region Housing Corporation.

    "I've been doing this for 25 years and have been through a couple of difficult cycles of problems worsening, and it's a very sad thing to see a family with kids that don't have a home," she said.

    Hanley doesn't know the solution. "The private developers, they just won't put up new buildings. I know the government is looking at different things it can try to do to make it more attractive, but the reality is that we have not seen a lot of private industry involvement in the market since this started to be a problem six years ago."

    At city shelters, homeless Edmontonians, who have been living outside in warmer weather, face a lack of space, said Heather McCallum, with the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society.

    "We're just now starting to get reports that people are being turned away and it's October," she said. "It's going to get worse."

    Although housing markets across Alberta have relaxed, average home prices are still more than 30% higher than at the same time last year, topping $380,000 in Edmonton. In booming Fort McMurray, they're nearly double that, at $640,000.

    The immediate risk is to the homeless, suggested the NDP's Ray Martin. "These figures are very scary. The weather has been good so far, but we all know it's going to change. So the immediate problem is that there are clearly not enough shelters or enough transitional housing to accommodate the need, and it's going to take a concerted effort by both levels of government to address this."

    The city and the province could start by opening up safe, unused buildings to take the overflow, he suggested. The city also plans to bring 3,800 new affordable units on stream within the next few years.

    Alberta committed an extra $285 million towards the issue earlier this year, but that still puts its spending on affordable housing at the same level as in 1986, said Liberal critic Bruce Miller. It not only needs to do more, it needs to foster a useful working relationship with municipalities to combat homelessness.

    Incentives like tax breaks for buildings that include affordable units still aren't legally possible, said Miller.

    "It's deplorable to see so many people living on the street amongst so much wealth," he said. "There is no reason in the world why a province that gets as much as this one does from the oil- patch can't deal with affordable housing. It's absolutely ridiculous."
    -30-

  40. #140

    Default Premier pledges to end homelessness

    Premier pledges to end homelessness
    No new funding announced as province launches 'secretariat for action'


    Jason Markusoff, edmontjournal.com
    Published: October 29, 2007 5:09 pm


    Full article:

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjourna...e5b62b&k=46858

    Red Deer's mayor did it, then Calgary's, and most recently, Edmonton's Mayor Stephen Mandel joined the club, promising to end homelessness in a decade.

    Now Premier Ed Stelmach is making it a provincial goal.
    -30-

  41. #141

    Default

    ‘Easy fix to Australian housing crisis’

    Buying a house: What Australians need to do to fix housing crisis

    “AUSTRALIA’S housing situation is hopelessly outdated — but an easy fix is right in front of our noses, an expert has claimed.

    “Renowned futurist Phil Ruthven has argued that most of our housing woes could be solved by adopting the leasing model, which is common in Europe and other parts of the world.

    That model allows tenants to take out long-term leases of five to 10 years or more, and gives them far greater rights and control over how they fit out, decorate and use the home. ...”

    ...
    “For years I’ve been advocating that it’s better to lease than to own a home — but I don’t mean renting, which is unstable, short-term and limiting,” he said.

    “Less than half of people in Germany own ...”

    https://www.news.com.au/finance/real...9edc3bc251082e


    The Australians who prefer to rent, not buy

    “The whole set up is really based on the assumption that private rent is quite a small tenure, and… for single, childless, working age people,” says Prof Pawson. “But families and older people are actually now living in private rental in growing numbers. For them, a very low security of tenure place to live isn’t very satisfactory.”

    https://www.domain.com.au/news/the-a...150721-gigib6/
    Last edited by KC; 01-06-2018 at 10:39 PM.

  42. #142
    C2E Long Term Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Downtown
    Posts
    30,757

    Default

    11 years later...
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  43. #143

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    11 years later...
    Yes. Sorry about that. All these problems were solved 10 years ago. Affordability, availability, access, regulations, supply, pricing... all solved.

    Totally new and different problems today. Incomparable.


    Nothing to think about here people. Move on.

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