Non-market housing's effect on property values

As communities in Edmonton face the prospect of having supportive housing for newly housed Edmontonians in their neighbourhood, some residents have voiced concerns about the effect on their property prices.

So what is the effect of non-market housing on surrounding property prices?

Many different studies have investigated this question. The Centre for Housing Policy has distilled that research into one policy brief. What they found is that affordable housing does not depress neighbouring property value, and, in some cases, may in fact have a positive effect. Much of the research suggests that the quality of design, management and maintenance are key factors in ensuring there are no negative effects for surrounding property values. There is also some evidence that points to the importance of location: non-market housing is more likely to have no negative impact, and potentially a positive impact, if it's located in a neighbourhood which is already strong - with low levels of poverty.

If you'd like to read more on this study, you can find it here.

Homeless in winter

Winter obviously presents all kinds of dangers and challenges for Edmontonains who are homeless. Hope Mission tells us what the top 5 are:

1. Frostbite

2. Illness associated with cold weather

3. Hypothermia, or even death, from prolonged exposure

4. Depression

5. Loneliness

Read more of Hope Mission's article on the perils of winter here

All of Edmonton's agencies are taking donations of gently used winter clothing - and are looking for help in providing hot meals for people who are homeless.

New data on Housing First savings

Calgary Homeless Foundation: housing the homeless saves taxpayers money

The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) announced compelling new data this week on the savings that Housing First can achieve: providing housing and support to a sample of 72 previously homeless individuals with complex issues saved taxpayers nearly $2.5 million (on average $34,000 per person) over one year.

Dr. John Rook, President and CEO, CHF said, "This data proves providing people experiencing homelessness with housing and support saves taxpayers money and relieves the burden on more expensive public systems."

You can read Dr. Rook’s detailed remarks here and the Calgary Homeless Foundation’s annual report here

Ensuring homeless Edmontonians can vote

New voting regulations means that each of us has to provide proof of our address when we're voting on October 21st. Obviously that presents a challenge for Edmontonians who are homeless.

However, Edmonton Elections, agencies and the province are working together to find a solution.

Polling stations will be set up at Boyle Street Community Services and the Bissell Centre on election day. Staff at these agencies are able to vouch for a person's name using the shelter address, allowing that person to vote - a great initiative ensuring democracy is truly accessible to all Edmontonians.

Read the Metro's full story here.

Terwillegar permanent supportive housing

The phase of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness that we’re currently in calls for the establishment of permanent supportive housing. We know that some Edmontonians who are homeless will only succeed in staying successfully housed if they’re given the supports they need on site. Right now there is not enough of this type of housing in Edmonton. So if we’re serious about ending homelessness in our city, the issue of permanent supportive housing must be addressed.

The building that Jasper Place Health and Wellness is proposing for Terwillegar will contain 60 apartments. The advantage is that it’s away from the downtown area, which many newly housed Edmontonians are anxious to leave behind them. They are eager to make the most of the opportunity Housing First offers with a fresh start away from old influences. However, as we’ve seen in the news in recent weeks, some residents of Terwillegar have significant concerns about the implications of permanent supportive housing in their community.

Sandra Dowie lives in Riverbend. Unlike some of her neighbours, she’s been speaking out in favour of the project. Sandra’s daughter struggled with homelessness and addiction for many years. However, with the help of Housing First she’s managed to piece her life back together.

Listen to Sandra’s interview on CBC here.