Addressing Hard-to-House Homeless Population

Addressing Hard-to-House Homeless Population

As the City nears the end of the 10-year period for Edmonton’s plan to end homelessness, in order to enable all partners to recommit their efforts to end homelessness in Edmonton, this report summarizes trends related to homelessness and emphasizes the need for additional permanent supportive housing projects in the city.

Over the past eight years, much progress — employing the Housing First principle — has been made on achieving the goals and targets established in A Place to Call Home. In October 2016, 1,752 people were counted as experiencing homelessness in Edmonton during the Edmonton Homeless Count — a 43% decrease from the 2008 count. However, 70% of the individuals counted in 2016 were chronically homeless and nearly half self-identified as Indigenous.

Much work remains to close the gap as we reach the end of the 10-year period, particularly with the chronic homeless, also referred to as the hard-to-house population. A solution that is more all-encompassing than Housing First is required to accommodate the needs of hard-to-house Edmontonians. In order to reach the finish line, preliminary evidence suggests that the remaining homeless requires a more aggressive and focused service delivery model: permanent supportive housing, which is housing equipped with on-site wrap-around services and has been a proven and successful approach.

Edmonton has a significant shortage of permanent supportive housing units. Wait lists for various affordable housing programs, especially permanent supportive housing, are well into the thousands. For example, only 213 of the original target of 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing have been developed since 2009. Today, the need for such housing in Edmonton continues to grow, now estimated at 1,000 units that require an annual investment of $21 million over 10 years.

"Clearly, in order to End Homelessness in Edmonton and achieve the aims of the 2007 report, we need to redouble our efforts for the benefit of hard-to-house homeless Edmontonians."

ORGANIZATION: Edmonton City Council
LOCATION: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada