EDMONTON - Today, Edmonton City Council reviewed the city auditor’s report on homelessness which finds the city has no corporate wide plan, no central co-ordinator or body, and no evaluation system. In response, Public Interest Alberta’s Executive Director Bradley Lafortune issued the following statement:
“On Wednesday of this week, people gathered outside of City Hall to remember over 450 people who have died because of homelessness in the city over the past three years. These are friends, family, and loved ones who left us too soon.
“Homelessness in our city has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. This is a rapidly-accelerating crisis. This summer, we could be facing another extreme heat wave. Drug poisonings have reached epidemic levels. And skyrocketing unaffordability means even more people are being pushed to the brink of extreme poverty.
“All levels of government have a role to play in ending homelessness for good. However, decades of underfunding for public supportive housing from the provincial and federal governments have left cities in the lurch for adequately dealing with this crisis. Without significant investment in safe and healthy non-market housing, the municipal government is left to play catch-up with urgent responses to extreme weather or emergency shelter needs, rather than addressing the issue at the root cause."
“Housing is a human right. Full stop. The city, the province and the federal government need to collaborate on a plan to end homelesness all together by ensuring every single person has a safe place to call home. Otherwise, we will just see a continuation of piecemeal, responsive measures while human beings suffer and die on Edmonton's streets and in the river valley.”