900 homeless people find housing
But community group fears whole new group has hit the streets
The number of people finding housing under Edmonton's 10-year plan to end homelessness is twice as high as expected — but some are worried those people are rapidly being replaced on the streets.
Since the Edmonton Committee to End Homelessness was established in January 2008, about 900 people have found a place to live, twice the number expected over that period.
The sluggish economy is making it easier to find places for people to live, said Jay Freeman, executive director of the Edmonton homeless commission.
"First of all, the vacancy rate is higher," he said. "Two, the rents have stabilized, [and in] some cases, slightly decreased."
However, the same sluggish economy may mean more new people are ending up on the street.
"I'm a bit worried, to be honest," said Julian Daly, executive director of Boyle Street Community Services in Edmonton's inner city.
This summer there is twice the number of people using the centre's drop-in when compared to 2009, Daly said.
"If we're seeing a doubling of figures this summer, that doesn't bode well particularly, if history's anything to go by, for the coming winter," he said.
More young people and people whose unemployment benefits have run out are visiting the centre, he said.
He believes that the people who are finding housing are being replaced on the street by people just now losing their ability to pay the rent.