Housing is a foundation for individual and family safety, security and stability. While the Edmonton area is widely regarded as one of the most livable and affordable metropolitan regions in the country, thousands of people in Edmonton and other municipalities in the region struggle to find and keep adequate, affordable housing. It is estimated that there are approximately 47,000 households in the Edmonton area that are paying too much for their housing relative to their incomes or living in housing that is not suitable for their needs or in need of major repairs. The shortage of affordable housing in the Edmonton area not only places considerable stress on many households, it also detracts from the quality of life the region offers and constrains the region’s competitiveness in attracting people to support its growing economy.
A portion of those in the community facing challenges finding and keeping suitable, affordable housing are homeless. Although considerable progress has been made in reducing the incidence of homelessness in Edmonton in recent years, there are still many in the community without homes. The most recent homeless count in Edmonton conducted in Fall 2010 identified 2,421 homeless individuals. Although the decline of 600 from the homeless count two years earlier is worthy of celebration, the community is committed to drive this number down further.
Both A Plan for Alberta: Ending Homelessness in 10 Years, the Government of Alberta’s ten year plan to end homelessness and A Place to Call Home, Edmonton’s ten year plan to end homelessness, have the goal of ending homelessness by 2019.
There is a strong tradition of community-based planning around issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Edmonton and the community is recognized for its leadership in collaborative action on these issues. The Edmonton Area Community Plan on Housing and Supports: 2011-2015 is the third community plan to be developed by the community over the past decade. However, it is the first community plan to address housing and support needs in the broader Edmonton area, which includes not only the City of Edmonton, but also the other municipalities in the region.