EDMONTON – The City of Edmonton will use part of the Edmonton Convention Centre for temporary pandemic accommodation for vulnerable individuals as part of its commitment to ending homelessness in Edmonton.
The city said it is concerned for the safety and well-being of those sleeping rough including those living in temporary encampments. There are approximately 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton, with more than 600 sleeping outside or unsheltered on any given night — including those at major encampments.
“The pandemic created a gap in services and increased the number of people falling into homeless each month,” said Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin. “This temporary facility provides those people with safety, services, and a pathway to permanent housing.”
People who stay at the temporary pandemic accommodation will have a safe, warm place to sleep, receive daily meals and have access to storage, washrooms and shower facilities. They will also have access to culturally appropriate health and wellness support, including mental health and addiction resources, as well as housing support workers who can help them transition into bridge accommodation and find longer term housing.
“As operators of an important community asset, we need to be open to pivoting our business to support our community and vulnerable populations as we navigate this pandemic together,” said Arlindo Gomes, Vice President of Venue Management, Explore Edmonton. “We have prepared our venues to welcome guests while adhering by strict health and safety standards and all Government of Alberta requirements. Given the size of our venue and our recent experience hosting an activation of this scope and scale at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, we are confident that the Edmonton Convention Centre will be a safe space for those experiencing homelessness.”
The facility will be open 24/7 and operated by community agencies from Edmonton’s homeless serving sector. Up to 300 people overnight and up to 400 people during the day will be able to access the space which will open at the end of October and remain in operation until March 31, 2021.
Additional details on the services to be offered at the facility, and the agencies providing each of those services, will be shared as soon as they are available.
Earlier this year the city and partners activated the Edmonton EXPO Centre for vulnerable individuals who required a safe environment.