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  • 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-

    Comment


    • 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.

      Comment


      • 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-

        Comment


        • 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-

          Comment


          • 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-

            Comment


            • ‘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, 10:39 PM.

              Comment


              • 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

                Comment


                • 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.

                  Comment

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