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June 25, 2017
February 22, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Failing to end homelessness

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

Edmonton has only two years left to end homelessness. And it’s going to mean quadrupling efforts to build housing for the “hard-to-house”, or chronically homeless.

In 2009, it was estimated that we’d need 1,000 places to live for people who struggle with mental illness, addiction and other issues who require not just a home but a home with supportive services. So far, we’ve built just over 200 of these units in Edmonton.

Last year’s count of people living in the river valley and on city streets found close to 2,000 still without a permanent address. So this issue is not going to get any better without work.

You can read the brief update to city councillors online. There will be an update in three weeks on what the plan to end homelessness looks like now, with two years to go on the self-imposed deadline. There’s also expectation the provincial budget, and perhaps the federal one, will bring spring money to Edmonton to build housing.

We recently had an update on the plans to get 10,000 people out of poverty too, which faces a number of challenges. Around one in 10 Edmontonians live in poverty, and Alberta has more working poor than anywhere else in Canada. (See the report from the Edmonton Social Planning Council.)

Councillor Scott McKeen recognized that money is not the only thing holding up important housing. Councillors, and city administration, may need to risk upsetting some people in some neighbourhoods and just start building affordable and supportive housing.

The time for not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) complaining is over and we need to get more people a home. (Of course, when we talk about neighbourhoods like McCauley which have been the go-to place to clump such housing, there is a reasonable excuse to not just put more there.)

Meanwhile, a program to help people find work is taking a hit. (Although the story doesn’t make it clear why funding is being cut, and if it’s a provincial government decision.)


 

Stuck in your car

A decade from now you’ll be able to cruise along our newest freeway. The City is borrowing half-a-billion dollars to upgrade the Yellowhead Trail through Edmonton’s north-side, which will mean no more traffic lights and free-flowing traffic. It does mean a tax increase for the next ten years though.

I wonder if we couldn’t just make up that money with a $1 toll both ways for all the folks coming in and out of the city each day…

If you do drive regularly, do you feel like you’re stuck in traffic about 17 hours each year? (That’s only around 30 minutes each week, so it makes sense if it doesn’t feel that bad.)

If you are stuck in traffic, the City is working on making sure you don’t also get stuck in a flooded underpass.


Reports

We’ve already mentioned a few stories with reports in them, which appears to be the theme of the day, so how about a couple more.

There’s new information out on domestic violence in Canada. Alberta was one of the province’s that saw an increase in reported cases since the last look by Statistics Canada. You can see the report online.

You’ll want to check the chart at the end of this story on vaccinations to find your area of Edmonton and see how many people are actually vaccinated. Also, don’t move to High Level if you have a compromised immune system. (This is a great longread story.)


In other news…

Small litter is Edmonton’s big problem. Maybe vaping will be the answer to all the cigarette butts?

The North Saskatchewan river valley is closer to a completely connected path through Edmonton, and the capital region (eventually, Devon to Fort Saskatchewan).