Iveson calls on province to pitch in $17.4 million annually for supportive housing complexes to address homelessness

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Funding to purchase available buildings and set up the housing units is expected to come from the federal government’s $1 billionpledge to municipalities in mid-September through the Rapid Housing Initiative. It isn’t clear how much of that funding Edmonton will receive, but Iveson previously called for $386.6 million, which he admitted wouldn’t come from this investment alone.

Community and Social Services Ministry spokesman Jerry Bellikka said the province is currently reviewing the letter and will reach out to Iveson to discuss the request.

So far in 2020, the province has provided $38.8 million for emergency shelters in Edmonton and an additional $8.6 million in emergency funding to expand shelter spaces and provide isolation shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bellikka said.

“Occupancy at shelter spaces in Edmonton continues to be well below capacity (42 per cent). There are 658 (Community and Social Services) funded shelter spaces in Edmonton, of which 274 have been used over the past two nights,” he said in a statement to Postmedia Thursday. “We continue to work with shelter operators in Edmonton to provide accommodations that address the needs of their clients.”

This request for operational support of the bridge housing is separate from the city’s planned 24/7 temporary shelter this winter, which received $8 million in joint funding from the federal and provincial governments. Iveson said the selected city-owned facility for the shelter is expected to be announced Friday and will be operational by the end of October.

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