EDMONTON - As Edmonton City Council enters its second full day of budget deliberations, Public Interest Alberta’s Executive Director Bradley Lafortune issued the following statement:
“What kind of city do we want to live in and build for the future? These are the questions we need to answer with this budget.
“Budgets are all about priorities. There’s no doubt that the chaos at the provincial level has negatively impacted municipalities ability to do their jobs effectively. However, the City Council is not helpless. Prioritizing housing is a long-term investment into the kind of city we can all be proud to live in - one that values the lives and dignity of all Edmontonians and enables everyone to thrive.
“That’s why Public Interest Alberta is strongly encouraging all councillors to recognize housing as a keystone issue and fully commit to the following proposals in the 2023-2026 budget:
- Capital - Affordable Housing 2023-2026 Growth Funding ($91,700,000) (pg. 663)
- Operating - Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention ($18,670,000/year) (pg. 187)
- Operating - Affordable Housing Grant Program (pg. 254)
- Operating - Public Washroom Strategy (pg. 246)
“We know that homelessness in our city has more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. 2600 people in our city are currently homeless. As the temperature drops, this is a crisis situation. We know this issue needs long-term solutions now.
“We can’t address public health, healthy communities, and sustainability without addressing housing. In operating funding, we need to see the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention package funded, the Affordable Housing Grant Program and the Washroom Strategy.
“Tough choices shouldn’t come at the expense of people’s lives. We need housing now in Edmonton.”