Edmonton

Homeless numbers growing in Edmonton's river valley

​Outreach workers say the growing number of people living in Edmonton’s river valley shows the need for more affordable housing.

'10-year plan to end homelessness seems to be stalled out'

Homeless in the river valley

7 years ago
Duration 1:13
Street outreach workers check on people living in the Edmonton river valley

​Outreach workers say the growing number of people living in Edmonton's river valley shows the need for more affordable housing.

"The 10-year plan to end homelessness seems to be stalled out," said Boyle Street worker Robert Tate. "There's simply nowhere to put our people.

Rod Miller says he struggles with addictions but cannot get into a treatment program. (CBC)
"If there's nowhere for them to go, it's impossible for us to move forward with anything."

Tate estimates about 150 people are living in makeshift camps in the river valley this year. There were about 100 people last year.

Rod Miller, 37, lives in one camp hidden among the trees. He has serious health issues and struggles with drug addiction.

Robert Tate estimates there are about 150 people living in river valley camps this year. (CBC)
He said he prefers to live in his tent rather than a downtown homeless shelter.

"Downtown is a lion's den," he said. "When I get out, I don't want to be down there. I'd rather be in a treatment centre."

But there's a waiting list for treatment, as there is for affordable housing.

In six years since the 10-year plan to end homelessness was created, the province has spent close to $170 million on affordable housing units for more than 4,000 people.

About 2,000 people remain without homes, according to the most recent numbers.

Rod Miller says he prefers to live in a tent in Edmonton's river valley rather than a downtown homeless shelter. (CBC)

With files from Gareth Hampshire

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