Edmonton

Homeless numbers stable in Edmonton, 2014 count finds

Despite escalating real estate prices and low rental vacancy, Edmonton’s homeless numbers are stable, says a non-profit organization that works to fill housing needs.

Number of people relying on emergency shelters increasing

According to the 2014 Homeless Count, 2,252 people in Edmonton are currently homeless. (File Photo)

Despite escalating real estate prices and low rental vacancy, Edmonton’s homeless numbers are stable, says a non-profit organization that works to fill housing needs.

According to the 2014 Homeless Count, 2,252 Edmontonians are currently homeless up 78 people, or 3.5 per cent, from last year.

Of the people living without homes, 16 per cent moved to Edmonton within the last year. Nearly half of the homeless individuals counted identify as aboriginal.

The number of people living on the street in Edmonton has gone down by 27 per cent since the city implemented it plans to end homelessness in 2008.

Although the numbers show the city is going in the right direction, there is still work to do, Susan McGee, the CEO of Homeward Trust Edmonton, said in a release Friday.

“Those pressures remain. With more than 2200 Edmontonians without a home, we are reminded that we still have lots of work to do, and cannot become complacent as a community.”

While the count showed there are fewer people relying on provisional housing and couch surfing, emergency shelter use increased this year, as did the number of youth and families who do not have a home.

“The count results tell an important story about people who are experiencing homelessness and where we need to put our efforts as a community” said McGee.

“Over the next year, we will focus additional resources on rapid rehousing to reduce the pressure on emergency shelters. We will also focus on culturally appropriate housing and supports for Aboriginal peoples, and focused interventions for families and youth.”

In the past year, Edmonton’s population has grown by 7.4 per cent.

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