December 01, 2010
Declining Homeless Numbers are Encouraging
In 2008 Edmonton’s homeless population count was 3,079 people. This year’s count found that number had declined to 2,421 – a drop of 658 people, over 20%.
As a member of the Edmonton Committee to End Homelessness I disagreed completely with the $1 billion social industry cost number for 3,000 homes quoted in the committee’s 2009 report. However I was very much in agreement with the need to help those in need with more appropriate assistance.
The reduction in the number of homeless can be directly attributed to the partnership of governments of all levels with the economy of the private sector, something I have been encouraging in books, articles and speeches since first being elected in1997. Boardwalk Rental Communities, for example, a private sector company, is committed to working with governments and non-governmental organizations to provide affordable rental housing for the homeless and chronically homeless.
By engaging the private sector and similarly funded non-profit efforts, more homes can be provided and the number of homeless in Edmonton will hopefully continue to decline. Developer ProCura’s Mayfair Village project, now under construction, includes 237 units of private sector rental housing, affordable for those on minimum wage or modest pensions. I hope to see the day soon when the homeless numbers will have dropped to the point where we are actually closing homeless shelters in Edmonton East.
While the 2010 homeless count numbers show great improvement, there is still much more to be done. 2,400 homeless people in Edmonton is still far too many. What do you think?