Downtown Edmonton development squeezing out cheap housing

Edmonton's tight housing market is making it nearly impossible for some homeless people to find a place to live, say affordable housing advocates.

More people forced onto the streets as rooming houses fall to developments

Edmonton's tight housing market is making it nearly impossible for some homeless people to find a place to live, say affordable housing advocates. 2:17

Edmonton's tight housing market is making it nearly impossible for some homeless people to find a place to live, say affordable housing advocates.

"There's about 200 I'm working with trying to find them housing," said Terry Zawalski at Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

Zawalski's list of clients has grown nearly 20 per cent in the last year as development pushes east into the inner city,  squeezing out cheaper accommodations such as rooming houses.

Many of her clients can't even afford the affordable housing recently built by the YMCA just down the street.

"It's about $800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment," she said.

Her client list includes Jerry Chappel, 68, who lives on a monthly pension of $1,000 and cannot find housing he can afford.

Chappel lives in his 1982 Volvo which has cracked floorboards and duct tape holding plastic covers in place over the windows.

"I'm not sleeping on a park bench," he said. "I'd probably be dead if I was."

With files from CBC's James Hees

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.