Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was adopted in January 2009.
Homelessness has always been an issue in our community. Homeless counts since 1999, conducted every 2 years, showed the numbers were steadily rising. It didn’t make any difference whether our economy was doing well or badly. More and more Edmontonians did not have a home of their own.
But sky-rocketing rents - a boom economy that attracted hundreds of people to minimum wage jobs in Edmonton - a chronic shortage of affordable housing all lead to a sharp spike in the number of people living on our streets in the mid 2000’s. The desperation of their situation hit the media in the summer of 2007 when many pitched a tent city in Edmonton’s downtown. A tent city that shifted from parking lot to parking lot as the police moved them on.
Edmonton’s mayor Stephen Mandel understood that something had to be done. He struck Edmonton’s Committee to End Homelessness. Mayor Mandel wanted innovative thinking applied to the problem of homelessness, so he appointed a wide spectrum of community leaders to the Committee: business people, labour leaders, managers of philanthropic organizations, social agency directors, politicians and faith leaders.
The Plan that the Committee came up with set an ambitious goal - ending chronic homelessness in 10 years. It’s based on the Housing First principle with 5 tangible, measurable goals. Each goal has its own targets and strategies.
Once the Plan was adopted, many members of the Committee became the new Homeless Commission.
The Homeless Commission was the stewards of the Plan. The Commission was disbanded in 2014 and to be replaced by a new administrative committee, the Edmonton Homeless Advisory Committee.
The Edmonton Homeless Advisory Committee will continue to steward the implementation and support the goals of the Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.