EDMONTON - Today, Public Interest Alberta issued a demand for the UCP government to support upstream solutions in housing and services following a presentation to city councillors by Alberta Health Services’ Dr. Sikora, Chief Medical Officer for Health for Edmonton.
“Today reconfirmed what we’ve known all along: that housing is healthcare and the UCP government’s current approach is harming our communities and straining our healthcare system,” said Public Interest Alberta’s Executive Director Bradley Lafortune. “The UCP’s lack of investment has created an emergency by design. Today we are raising the alarm: we need urgent and substantial investments in evidence-based and upstream solutions now.”
Public Interest Alberta joined community members and the AHS delegation at Edmonton’s Community and Public Services Committee meeting with city councillors, chaired by Councillor Tim Cartmell.
At the meeting, Public Interest Alberta stressed the urgent need to:
- Scrap the UCP’s affordable housing framework “Stronger Foundations;”
- Develop and enforce minimum shelter standards (as recommended by the UCP’s own task force);
- Invest in permanent supportive housing and housing supports across the spectrum;
- Invest in wrap-around services and system navigation to ensure housing security and dignity for Edmontonians.
“As Dr. Sikora said: ‘Housing works.’ Now we need the province to show some leadership and invest in real solutions,” said Lafortune. “It’s stomach-turning that the UCP government would rather make the cynical case that Edmonton is the ‘San Francisco of the North’ — that is, a city being “mismanaged” to the detriment of the social fabric — rather than invest in evidenced-based solutions that support our communities.”
“In the upcoming provincial budget, we need to see a massive investment in housing, services and community well-being,” said Lafortune. “It’s clear from AHS’s presentation today that the city simply doesn’t have an adequate partner in the province to address Edmonton’s real challenges. To build an Edmonton for everyone, we need to make investments in upstream solutions now.”