Category Archives: Notices

TogetherWise – a Trust Based Approach to Consultation

Interfaith Housing is proud to present: TogetherWise; A trust-based approach to healthy community consultations around affordable and supportive housing.

Beginning in January of 2019, Interfaith Housing embarked on a resource design project intended to support quality consultations in local communities around affordable and supportive housing builds.  CRIHI gathered a team of community leaders, faith leaders and housing providers to dig deep into how to get consultation right.  We did this work together out of a recognition that a quality consultation with the local community is critical both to the strength of the local project and to the welcoming of new neighbours; many of whom are hungry for warmth and connection in a new home.

Four design workshops hosted over the space of three months gave us room to work together on how to do this important work well.  Out of these sessions we identified five principles (heartbeats) of good consultation, and we created a road map with advice and best practices to do this well.  We even designed a program to carry it forward (see below).

The TogetherWise program provides the following key resources:

The TogetherWise Good Relationship Agreement to help the developer and the community clarify expectations and plan together for good process.

Facilitated conversations at three stages of the consultation process:

  1. We help frame the initial TogetherWise Good Relationship Agreement and plan.
  2. We hold a mid-point check-in to hear how things are going.
  3. We host a debrief conversation at the end of the process to bring closure and gather learnings to help other consultations.

The website providing free access to all resources, including:

  • Five heartbeats of good consultation
  • A roadmap with advice for the journey
  • Consultation FAQs

The TogetherWise Resource Guide (print material) with key points and resources to aid the process.

Interfaith Housing Initiative is grateful to the many volunteers who served on our planning team and in our workshops.  We also want to express our sincere gratitude to our critical partners who provided funding and other forms of support throughout this project, and in carrying it forward in the years ahead.

CRIHI Asks – Get involved!

Hello everyone.  CRIHI has some pretty interesting and exciting work underway, and we have several opportunities to get involved.   Take a look!

  1. We need new members to serve on our steering committee.  (Time requirement:  One meeting every other month; typically a daytime slot which works best for faith leaders and partners.)
    1. Oversees the larger direction of the movement.
    2. Supervises staff and committee work.
  2. From our Governance Committee:  (meets once every other month)
    1. We are seeking to grow our circle of funding in order to build and expand our LAN work to cover the entire capital region
      • Send us your volunteers familiar with grant-writing.
      • put us on your donations schedule; donations arranged through the Anglican Diocese.  Contact John Gee to inquire after process:
      • Help us arrange for additional staff.
  3. From our Education and Advocacy Committee:  (normally meets monthly)
    1. Join our learning community; the Neighbourly! Tell us your stories.  Share why your faith thinks this work is important.
    2. Join our working tables:
      • Zero-percent mortgages. (just beginning)
      • Reintegrating people coming out of prison (just beginning)
      • Learning how to get consultation right.  (Project underway
  4. Volunteer
    1. Interfaith Habitat Works project. (Advisory committee hosted by Habitat For Humanity)
    2. Welcome Home.
  5. Connect with us on Land opportunities.
    1. We can come present on affordable and supportive housing as a possible direction; along with some examples.
    2. We are able to serve as a broker for connections with formal partners and resources.

To learn more or to respond to any of these asks, please contact:

Mike Van Boom, CRIHI’s Interfaith Network Animator; 780.554.2703

Interfaith Habitat Works 2019!

From March 5 – June 5, CRIHI and her partners at Habitat for Humanity invite you to come join us as people of many faiths put boots on the ground together building homes for people.  There is still time and opportunity to get involved, so come join us!

Ways you can get involved:

  • Volunteer on a build or at a ReStore: Volunteers can come out either individually or as a group. Beginners are welcome and all equipment and tools are provided.
  • Feed the volunteers: contributions of lunches or baked goods are welcome.
  • Attend the Kick-off and Wrap-up events

Here is the link to Habitat’s Interfaith page where you can sign up your groups, download posters and information, and find answers to your questions:  

We also have a promotional video for you to share with your community:

And a Special Invite to Faith Leaders! 

CRIHI is excited to announce our first ever …

Faith Leaders Work Bee!
May 1, 2019

Habitat work days usually start around 8:30 and go until the later afternoon.  If you as a faith leader are at all able, carve out a day in your schedule to come work on site with leaders from other faith traditions.  A formal invitation will be sent out shortly, but please mark your calendars!

Housing Highlights from 2018!

It is time to count our blessings!  We have seen some encouraging movements this past year.  Let’s take note together and give thanks!

From the community update shared by Homeward Trust on National Housing Day, November 28, 2018 at the Royal Alberta Museum.

As the above summary report suggests: One of the most pressing frontline needs continues to be for more Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH).

PSH works much like Seniors Assisted Living facilities to provide more intensive and longer term care and supports to help those with numerous and complex barriers or challenges.  Thankfully, we are seeing some progress on that front with the promise of much more!

The picture above is of Balwin Place in Edmonton’s Northeast; one of Edmonton’s newest PSH facilities (Homeward Trust and George Spady Society); home to 25 new residents.

This past month, CRIHI was also able to visit Elizabeth House (E4C); which will be a supportive home and community for an additional 20 residents; historically a communal home to Anglican clergy in Edmonton’s Alberta Avenue community.

Here are a few pictures we took inside, including a bedroom, the kitchen where staff and residents will together prepare meals, and the chapel or space for spiritual reflection:

elizabeth kitchenelizabeth bedelizabeth chapel

Do we have more on the way?  Yes!

The City of Edmonton is preparing to designate four city sites in Edmonton for Permanent Supportive Housing.  The locations of those plots are still being determined, but they are moving forward.  The city of Edmonton recently approved significant investments in affordable housing, as we detailed in our November issue of the Neighbourly.

The Province of Alberta has also made significant commitments and investments both here in Edmonton and across the province.  They created the first Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy.  The strategy prioritizes people and focuses on their success and well-being. The government is standing by its commitment of $1.2 billion toward the development of 4,100 new or regenerated housing units across the province.

On November 9, the Province announced a $3 million investment in a new Veterans Service Centre and transitional housing project in north Edmonton. The project will help link veterans to a range of services, including transitional housing, employment and training services and crisis supports.

Below is a list of affordable housing projects which have been announced in the Edmonton area, that are recipients of Provincial funding:

There is so much yet to be done, but we really do have much to be excited about and grateful for.  Please take a moment this month to contact your MLA, your MP, and your City councillor.  Tell them how important an affordable home is to everyone, and thank them for some of the good work being done to ensure people have access to affordable housing!
And just a little more good news…
We are also pleased to see some good stories come forward on the community hospitality front; such as the following example from the Beverly Community in Edmonton’s Northeast:

Edmonton considering a 16% Affordable Housing Target in every neighbourhood

On Monday afternoon, August 13, 2018, city staff will be presenting an affordable housing framework to City Council Executive.  The need for such a framework is driven by the reality of a steep rise in housing cost in many Canadian cities since the turn of the millenium, and numbers from Statistics Canada that tell us almost 50,000 renter households In Edmonton face difficulty finding housing they can afford.

City staff are proposing a city-wide affordable housing framework (laid out in City Policy C601) to guide the planning and development of City-funded affordable housing projects. There are two important changes that this policy recommends:

  1. That to meet the current needs of Edmontonians, the City encourages affordable housing city-wide, and aspires to 16% affordable housing in all neighbourhoods and wards.
  2. That all new affordable housing projects are evaluated against the same five criteria to ensure consistency and transparency.

Recognizing that the geographic location of a development is only one of multiple factors to consider, the framework lays out five criteria to evaluate affordable housing project proposals

  • The degree of affordability (level of rent payments charged in the project)
  • Whether the proposed development has funding from other orders of government
  • The proximity of the development to amenities and supports
  • The overall project design
  • The broader geographic context of the development’s location

This framework aims to provide a consistent way to assess affordable housing funding proposals from community organizations and the private sector. This means that every affordable housing proposal will be evaluated using the same five criteria, and the existing neighbourhood context and services will be taken into consideration when the City looks at funding affordable housing.

Is 16% too much? 

CRIHI has been grappling with the larger question for some time. and has formulated our answer as follows:

A 16% guideline for distribution of affordable housing across Edmonton is not high, and in itself poses no threat to neighbourhood vitality.

Supporting observations:

  1. The research shows little correlation between rates of non-market housing and neighbourhood distress here in Edmonton.
  2. The 16% suggested target is not high when one considers the practice of other jurisdictions with social safety nets comparable to Canada.  For example: the floating city of Ijburg in the Netherlands is intentionally designed with 30% Social housing, 30% home ownership, and 40% market rental on each block.  The Netherlands has been intentionally designing communities with a steady integration of non-market and mixed-income housing developments since the second world war.

To see our answer in the context of the larger question, please see our Housing FAQ:

How much is too much? and supporting research.

Interested to come see and hear the report on August 13?
Come join us!

CRIHI will be there to hear and respond to this report, and is inviting faith community folks to come out in a show of support for meaningful housing solutions.  We anticipate a great deal of interest from other groups as well, so there is likely to be a fairly strong lineup of people to speak to this report.  CRIHI’s voice will be one of them.

This meeting is designated time specific to begin at 1:30 on Monday, August 13 at City Hall, in the River Valley Room.

To access the formal policy proposal, please go to the following link:
Framework and supporting documents are available with the June 18 agenda, under item 6.16

No Room in the Inn Campaign – 2017

This year’s campaign is to support a refit of the Northern Arms Apartment complex, Independent living housing with supports provided by Canadian Mental Health Association.

Christian churches in Edmonton are once again joining forces at Christmas to assist those at risk of homelessness through the annual No Room in the Inn (NRII) campaign. This year NRII has chosen to support the Edmonton Region of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

CMHA is a non-profit charitable organization that receives funding through the United Way and other government programs. In Edmonton, the CMHA has seven properties with a total of 146 independent living units. Presently, there is a wait-list and an influx of applications.

The property receiving support through our 2017 NRII Campaign will be the Northern Arms apartment complex (in the Queen Mary park neighbourhood) which CMHA purchased in August 2015. Although a structural assessment deemed the building had good bones, renovations are still necessary to replace ALL the windows and balcony doors. Exterior siding, painting, carpet in common areas will also be updated. In individual units, renovations are also needed to update flooring, appliances, and window coverings. As outlined in this year’s NRII pamphlet, tenants of CMHA’s affordable long-term housing can readily access all the services provided by CMHA-Edmonton including a supportive landlord who can assist them when their mental health is not well.

How to donate:
1) Through your church – make a cheque payable to your church and enter “No Room in the Inn” in the memo line. Drop the cheque in the church collection or mail it to your church. The church will then forward donations to CMHA for the Northern Arms Apartment complex.
2) Making a cheque payable directly to ‘Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region,” enter “No Room in the Inn” in the memo line and mail it to:
CMHA; #300, 10010 – 105 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 1C4

This Christmas, please prayerfully consider being a blessing to the Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region’s Northern Arms complex and its mission through the No Room in the Inn campaign.

Housing Month Highlights

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:
  1. A stronger portable housing benefit to take root in 2020; providing rent assistance to low income families.
  2. We will see federal energy and dollars moving into the renovation and creation of new affordable housing across the country.
  3. 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!

Interfaith Recruiters’ Meeting


We are mobilizing Edmonton’s faith community to come out and join us on the Habitat build and in Restores. If you are part of a faith community, we invite you to join us! Habitat for Humanity Edmonton and the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative are working together to engage Edmonton’s faith communities.

Our goal is to mobilize 500 volunteers and provide 45 lunches.

The Recruiters’ Meeting will provide information on how to sign up your faith group and promote the Interfaith Works Project.  We are gathering people from across Edmonton to recruit volunteers from their faith community.

Come and join us to find out how you can be part of this!

When: Jan 23 OR Jan 24

Time: 6-7pm

Location: 14135 128 Ave NW





I Need Help! Who Do I Call?

Whether this is you, someone you know, or a neighbour battling in the cold; here are a few key resources to help you get help.

If this is an emergency, call 911!

If you see someone in distress, and you are concerned their life may be threatened in any way, don’t mess around; call 911 Emergency to summon immediate help.

If this is not an emergency, and someone’s life is not visibly threatened, call 211!

This service is able to mobilize many different kinds of responses, including the 24/7 Crisis response teams, which can help someone in a non-emergency situation.  The 211 service is also able to connect or refer you to places that will be able to provide help.

If you need more long-term help for yourself or a neighbour and don’t know where to go, here is a resource with good information on different frontline service providers.

The Winter Emergency Response Guide 2016/2017   winter-emergency-response-resource-guide-2016-17-final-d

It explains what services are provided, hours of operation, contact information, etc.  These places provide everything from simple shelter from the cold or a safe place to sleep, to helps with identification, doing taxes and finding housing.