The second-ever one-block village of tiny homes has been approved by city council for the Evansdale neighbourhood in north Edmonton to assist homeless veterans.
Clusters of four units will be built by the Homes for Heroes Foundation in a V-shaped lot at 94A Street between 153 and 152A avenues.
Homes for Heroes co-founder David Howard told city council the foundation reduced the size of the project from 27 to 21 units to fit in with the neighbourhood after some early opposition at public events.
“We want to be a good neighbour. We want to be part of the neighbourhood.
“We don’t want to be in conflict with the neighbourhood. We want to be a support and a part of the community. It’s very important for our veterans to be accepted.”
The project gives the veterans individual privacy, while offering wrap-around social services to train them after they’ve had addiction challenges following their time in the service.
This location would be the second in Alberta. The Calgary counterpart opened in November with 15 homes.
“It is full and we have a waiting list for the facility,” Howard said, adding two residents have moved on with jobs to new accommodations.
“There are eight veterans that are working full-time. All veterans are working on themselves (to finish their rehabilitation) and working towards a successful transition.”
Ret. Lt-Col. Malcolm Bruce, who spent three decades in the armed forces and is now the CEO of Edmonton Global, told council he has spent time with the homeless, some who struggle with addiction and live in camps in the river valley.
He shared with council their story of how they want to be near their “street families” but away from downtown and the substance abuse that has harmed them.
“What we need is something that is outside of the core,” Bruce said.
“That would be with in a larger community but then still allow us to access our street family as we start to transition out of our current state. That’s why I thought this particular site was ideally located.”
“It offers both benefits: access still to the core, access to services in the north and in our broader community.”
Among the benefits Homes for Heroes touted for the project is nearby amenities for the veterans to access and a short distance to the Eaux Claires Transit Centre.