Edmonton

Tiny home village for homeless veterans gets nod from Edmonton council

A village of tiny homes for homeless veterans is now in the works in the Evansdale community in central-north Edmonton, after city council approved the 21-home development during a public hearing Tuesday. 

Handful of residents urged council to reject the 21-home project in Evansdale

The 300-square foot homes are similar to a larger home with kitchen, bedroom and living area in a one-level compact form. (Homes for Heroes)

A village of tiny homes for homeless veterans is now in the works in the Evansdale community in central-north Edmonton, after city council approved the 21-home development during a public hearing Tuesday. 

The non-profit group Homes for Heroes (H4H) pitched the project for a one-acre plot of land just south of 153rd Avenue and north of 94th Street. 

Coun. Jon Dziadyk supports the project in his Ward 3, near Canadian Forces Base Edmonton. 

"Edmonton being very hospitable to our military population, this is really appropriate here," Dziadyk said at the meeting. 

David Howard, president and co-founder of H4H, said his organization has done a lot of research to ensure the village set up will help vulnerable veterans. 

"This is a momentous day for our charity, the citizens of Edmonton and veterans experiencing a difficult time transitioning to civilian life in the Edmonton area," Howard said in a written statement. 

The village will include a resources centre and a full-time counselling office. The city is letting H4H use the land to build homes measuring 300 square feet. 

"If it were not for the community of Edmonton and their passion for those who stood on guard for Canada, I am not sure we will be at this stage," Howard said.  

Chris Nielsen, the MLA for Edmonton-Decore and Nicole Goehring, the MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs, told council they support the project. 

Coun. Tony Caterina was the only councillor to vote against the development, citing safety concerns with a busy intersection at 93rd Street and 152nd Avenue.

A few residents opposed the location. 

Four people asked council to reject the bid, including Maxine Piche, who said many residents consider the land valuable green space. 

Another resident, Adnan Berro, submitted a letter of opposition, arguing that the development would add traffic congestion to an already busy area. 

"Choosing a small piece of land on a busy road is a horrible idea," the letter reads.

The Evansdale community league said it would remain neutral on the project. 

Mayor Don Iveson said the decision showed the city's leadership in building affordable housing. 

"We are always told to innovate," Iveson said. "This remnant parcel is actually a fairly small piece of land that we would struggle to know what else to do with until an innovative idea came along from partners who want to activate it."

Council's approval allows the city to rezone the land from its current agriculture use to a site-specific development control provision. 

Howard said H4H will apply for building permits with the goal to start building this year and open later in the year or early spring.

The organization built a tiny home village in Calgary last year, a model Howard said he believes could end homelessness among veterans. 

"What we need now is for more cities like Calgary and Edmonton to identify lands in their municipality for us to build on."

@natashariebe

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