November was a very exciting month on the housing front; punctuated by numerous events, workshops and announcements. Here’s a little of what we saw, heard and did together this month!
- We heard excitement around the updated plan here in Edmonton, with numerous front line providers welcoming efforts to fine-tune work on the three fronts of ending chronic homelessness, preventing future homelessness, and better integration and coordination of services.
- We heard the city of Edmonton formally recognize November 22 as Housing Day in our city, in line with National Housing Day efforts across the country.
- We heard MLA David Shepherd speak to efforts by the Province to ease restrictions for those seeking help affording a home. Families owning a vehicle or having a few assets to their name would often find themselves unable to qualify for assistance unless they liquidated these assets and spend what little extra they have in the bank. New changes will make vehicles exempt, and allow for up to $25,000 in assets.
- We heard Housing formally recognized and verbally expressed as a human right by the Federal Government.
- We heard the formal announcement of a National Housing Strategy by the Prime Minister, and by Minster Amarjheet Sohi here in Edmonton. As Jay Freeman noted, “43 years after the National Housing Act, we finally have a National Housing Strategy!” We will unpack this strategy more in the next few months, but a few initial highlights are as follows:
- A stronger portable housing benefit to take root in 2020; providing rent assistance to low income families.
- We will see federal energy and dollars moving into the renovation and creation of new affordable housing across the country.
- There will also be new funding agreements created with Housing Coops to replace those set to expire.
- We heard the city’s desire to integrate affordable housing all across the city; building inclusive, complete, diverse communities with a range of housing choices. We also heard the need to engage the private sector in this effort, as they are critical partners that currently provide housing that is affordable for 80% of Edmontonians.
- And of course, CRIHI hosted two major events ourselves: our [What’s your Wisdom on Affordable Housing?] workshop at West Edmonton Baptist Church on November 18, and our Plenary gathering on November 28 at Beulah Alliance. We will have more detailed reports on these events in our January issue of the Neighbourly.
So much to be thankful for in this season! New projects are being announced and are finding homes in Edmonton communities, and there is a spirit of welcome growing in many quarters of the city. Let’s continue to bathe our city in prayer for the future, that the work we are all doing together may bear rich fruit!