“By the end of this year, 4,402 families will have a better opportunity to thrive and survive and live their lives in a way that doesn’t have unnecessary stress associated with worrying about affording their housing,” Christel Kjenner, the city’s director of affordable housing and homelessness, said Friday.
The 4,402 total units are a combination of new and renovated spaces.
“The success we’ve had in the last five years demonstrates that it is possible,” Kjenner said.
“We need to continue to build on this momentum and ensure that we increase the supply even further, so we can help prevent further people falling into homelessness in the future.”
Eight reports will be tabled on June 27 at the community and public services committee, which will set the stage for fall discussions of the next four-year housing plan.
The reports will include a snapshot of housing needs and approaches to Indigenous-led housing.
The city noted as of May there are about 2,800 homeless Edmontonians and of those more than 1,150 are staying in a shelter or sleeping outdoors — 60 per cent are Indigenous.
“These challenges are significant and they’re society-wide,” Kjenner said.
Kjenner said there have been positive conversations between the city and province when it comes to operational funding.
“We remain optimistic,” Kjenner said.
“We’ve asked the province to consider increasing Homeward Trust’s operating funding so they’ll be able to provide those supports in a way that doesn’t require them to take away from other areas, which we think is important especially given that homelessness has increased in the past couple of years.”
The province told Global News it gives Homeward Trust $29 million a year for programming, housing and other supports.
Findings at an audit committee Friday morning acknowledged the city delivers various programs and services to support the homeless population, but it does not have a plan and clear accountability for Edmonton’s homeless response, nor does it evaluate its progress.
The recommendation is for the city to develop a plan, assign accountability for its delivery and monitor its progress.
“If we want to make sure that we can attract our share of investment to Edmonton to help Edmontonians, we need to maintain some predictability and consistency in terms of continuing to provide funding for affordable housing,” Kjenner said.