As part of the City of Edmonton’s $1 billion capital budget for 2021, five new supportive housing buildings are under construction.
“Right now, there are more than 2,800 people with no permanent home, with about 1,200 sleeping in shelters or outside each night,” explained deputy city manager of integrated infrastructure services Adam Laughlin.
The complexes in King Edward Park, Terrace Heights, Westmount, Inglewood and Wellington are designed to help transition people into stable living environments — hopefully breaking the cycle of homelessness.
However, contrary to earlier timelines, the buildings won’t be completed this year.
“When you get a grant, like we did, there are aggressive timeframes typically applied to that. Once you scope it out and confirm, then you can apply the dates more accurately,” Laughlin said.
He added the city realizes how urgently these homes are needed, and worked with contractors to get them built as quickly as possible.
“They looked at an innovative way of delivering these projects and we went the prefabrication route,” Laughlin said.
The site in King Edward Park features a communal main floor for living space and wrap-around supports, like counselling and health care.
Upstairs, there are 30 homes — each with their own kitchen and bathroom.
Some are barrier free, for those with mobility issues. They’re all either one-bedroom units, or studios.
Laughlin said the city is now expecting construction to wrap up in the first quarter of 2022, after overcoming some hurdles.
“The availability of materials, the availability of trade groups, would be one of those challenges.”
A large portion of the funding for these supportive housing projects is coming from the federal government.
In terms of operating costs for the ongoing supports once the homes open, the city is still hoping the province will step up with funds.