Premier Jason Kenney announced $1.1 million in provincial funding Friday for a housing development in Edmonton for veterans who are experiencing homelessness.
The funding will go toward the Homes for Heroes Foundation, which was developed three years ago in response to the growing number of military veterans who return to civilian life and find themselves without stable housing.
Earlier this year, the foundation was given the green light to build a tiny home development in the area of 94A Street between 153 and 152A avenues.
“Some who face combat or violence and trauma in far off places come back and find it difficult to adjust to civilian life,” Kenney said. “And sometimes that means some of our veterans find themselves without a home.
“We need to be there for them and we are… Albertans see their debt to veterans and this is one small way of repaying it.”
Kenney made the funding announcement in Calgary Friday morning, at the site of Canada’s first Homes for Heroes tiny home village.
Work on a similar Homes for Heroes tiny home village in Edmonton’s Evansdale neighbourhood is already underway, and it’s expected to be complete by the end of the year, Kenney said.
The housing project will include 20 modern furnished units, about 300-square-feet in size, for veterans facing homelessness.
“Edmonton, with CFB Edmonton — the home to the PPCLI, the Loyal Edmonton Regiment — northern Alberta, the home to CFB Cold Lake — the largest air force base in northern Alberta — very important military community. Those veterans who are struggling will find great support through this wonderful project,” Kenney said.
“They will have safe, comfortable surroundings in which to get the right support and get back on their feet.”
The Homes for Heroes Foundation estimates there are about 5,000 veterans who are living on the streets across Canada.
“The tiny home villages are unique, affordable and innovative urban villages that help veterans during their transition back to civilian life,” said Gerald Jackman, chair of the Homes for Heroes board of directors.
“Tiny home villages are more than just a housing-first solution. The Homes for Heroes tiny home platform provides full service wraparound programs that deliver the resources, training, counselling that are necessary to ensure veterans’ success in achieving their goals of living independently.
“We are already witnessing the successful transition of veterans back into civilian life as a result of having a home that is supported by these wraparound services.”
Kenney said the City of Edmonton also contributed to the project, providing a $1.1 million investment, as well as the land for the housing development.
“I’m happy the City of Edmonton is able to take a leadership role through this innovative project to help end homelessness among our veterans,” Mayor Don Iveson said in a media release.
“This is a great example of all three levels of government working together to give those who are struggling the stability and dignity they need to get back on their feet.”
About $2.3 million in funding came from corporate and private investors.
The province said the project will create 32 jobs in Edmonton.