Exhibition Lands Bridge Housing

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Thank you for participating in the online engagement for Exhibition Lands Bridge Housing. The online survey and ask a question tool are now closed.

You can still view the questions and answers that were submitted on this page.

A report on what we heard will be available fall 2020. If you have any questions, please contact housing@edmonton.ca.


About the Project

Nearly 2000 people are experiencing homelessness in Edmonton right now, with up to 500 people sleeping outdoors on any given night.

There is an urgent need for bridge housing, where people experiencing homelessness can stay for short periods while they work with service providers to secure permanent housing.

In response, the City of Edmonton and Homeward Trust are working in partnership to repurpose a City-owned vacant dormitory on Exhibition Lands. City Council has approved a lease to Homeward Trust for 3 years, with an option to extend for another 2 years. The development will open in fall 2020.


What is bridge housing?

Bridge housing is short-term, continuous stay accommodation that helps people ‘bridge’ the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. It is not a temporary overnight shelter where people have to leave during the day and return at night. The site will not offer walk-in service or support.

Residents have a safe space to stabilize and focus on the search for housing in a supportive environment. Residents stay for an average of 30 to 90 days before moving on to housing that works for them.

The residence will have 24/7 on-site supervision and there will be a secure entrance at the front of the building. Bridge housing residents will not have access to the rest of the Exhibition Lands site.

Thank you for participating in the online engagement for Exhibition Lands Bridge Housing. The online survey and ask a question tool are now closed.

You can still view the questions and answers that were submitted on this page.

A report on what we heard will be available fall 2020. If you have any questions, please contact housing@edmonton.ca.


About the Project

Nearly 2000 people are experiencing homelessness in Edmonton right now, with up to 500 people sleeping outdoors on any given night.

There is an urgent need for bridge housing, where people experiencing homelessness can stay for short periods while they work with service providers to secure permanent housing.

In response, the City of Edmonton and Homeward Trust are working in partnership to repurpose a City-owned vacant dormitory on Exhibition Lands. City Council has approved a lease to Homeward Trust for 3 years, with an option to extend for another 2 years. The development will open in fall 2020.


What is bridge housing?

Bridge housing is short-term, continuous stay accommodation that helps people ‘bridge’ the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. It is not a temporary overnight shelter where people have to leave during the day and return at night. The site will not offer walk-in service or support.

Residents have a safe space to stabilize and focus on the search for housing in a supportive environment. Residents stay for an average of 30 to 90 days before moving on to housing that works for them.

The residence will have 24/7 on-site supervision and there will be a secure entrance at the front of the building. Bridge housing residents will not have access to the rest of the Exhibition Lands site.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
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    After what happened at the EXPO Center, how can you think this will work? It is time that the city and Homeward Trusst look in another part of the City. Homeless want to be downtown.

    Sharon Asked 13 days ago

    The day-use and isolation shelter at the Expo Centre was a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It did not provide continuous stay accomodation; rather, people who were not isolating had to leave to find an overnight shelter. 

    People staying in bridge housing will have a temporary home where they can focus on the search for permanent housing in a supportive environment. They will be able to access on-site support or get help to attend off-site appointments. 

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    I live in the Northlands area, and I work in the downtown area, and have come across many homeless people. I am not saying all of them are bad, but there is definitely an increase of crime in these areas. I have witnessed unlawful acts being committed by these homeless people, such as property damage and assault. When asked to leave private property many times the comment is "everything outdoors belongs to me, I can do whatever I want". How are you going to curb this attitude and keep the crime rate from escalating in this area. Homeless people are attracted to parks, how are you going to keep Borden Park safe and crime free. Are there specific plans in place?

    brandy Asked 14 days ago

    We understand that nearby residents have concerns about community safety. It's important to note that social disorder associated with homelessness is a symptom of a lack of housing and appropriate housing, health and wellness support. 

    Permanent housing is the solution and bridge housing helps put people experiencing homelessness on that path. 

    The Good Neighbour Plan will include a Community Contact whom neighbours can contact to share feedback and concerns. The Operator will work to resolve concerns. If the concern isn't resolved, it will be referred to Homeward Trust's issue resolution process. This process can help address concerns related to the building's appearance, the behaviour or activities of residents or staff, and anything that hinders a positive community relationship and neighbourhood enjoyment.  

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    Is the old remand center being considered to help the homelessness in Edmonton. If not why not?

    brandy Asked 14 days ago

    The City is looking for quick and cost-effective ways to respond to the homelessness crisis in Edmonton. Refurbishing the Remand Centre would not be cost effective as it has been fully decommissioned and the pipes, wires, heating systems, and lighting all taken out. 

    Additionally, the City is committed to transitioning people out of homelessness and into housing that works for them, whether it's supportive, affordable or market housing. The Remand Centre is not housing and it was not designed in a way that responds to the needs of people who are seeking support. 

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    Are any services going to be provided to the residents, such as life management skills, mental or addiction support? Will they be assigned duties or tasks, if so what would this entail. How do you help them adjust from homelessness to having a home - what specific plans are in place.

    brandy Asked 14 days ago

    Every resident will work with a housing support worker to identify their housing needs and goals. Together, they will create a tailored plan that will help them work toward securing housing. 

    The residents will also receive the health and social supports they need to transition into housing, whether it's medical or pharmacy care, mental health care, disability services, wellness supports or life skills.

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    I understand that this is a temporary shelter solution, but where will the people go after the 90 days. Will a permanent solution for them be provided, what happens if no other forms of housing are available after their 90 days are up?

    brandy Asked 14 days ago

    Bridge housing is not a shelter as it will not offer walk-in service or support and residents do not have to leave during the day. Residents stay for an average of 30 to 90 days, but they will not be removed from the program at the end of 90 days. However, bridge housing is not designed for long-term residency and the residents will continue to work with a housing support worker to find permanent housing. 

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    Is this going to a temporary or permanent solution? What happens if people in the surrounding neighborhoods, or people that use Borden Park, determine that there are new safety issues or concerns. What re-courses are available to them, and how will they be addressed. Will there be immediate action taken?

    brandy Asked 14 days ago

    On June 22, City Council approved a below-market lease to Homeward Trust. The lease is for 3 years with an option to extend for another 2 years. There is also a 180 day termination clause should the building or land be needed as part of the Exhibition Lands redevelopment. 

    The Good Neighbour Plan will include a Community Contact whom neighbours can contact to share feedback and concerns. The Operator will work to resolve concerns. If the concern isn't resolved, it will be referred to Homeward Trust's issue resolution process. This process can help address concerns related to the building's appearance, the behaviour or activities of residents or staff, and anything that hinders a positive community relationship and neighbourhood enjoyment.  

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    I think this is a fabulous idea, but if there’s no walk in availability, how will we expect those who do not have phone access to apply to stay here. As well, though I do think this while have a positive impact, there is a large portion of Edmontonians who are homeless but not yet at the stage of which they can be counted as needing a “bridge” between no housing and paying for housing. That is to say that I feel that those who are far below breadline and nowhere near being able to get jobs to afford their own living quarters also need support, if not more support than those close to affording their own housing.

    Brooklyn Asked 15 days ago

    Residents enter bridge housing through an intake process managed by Homeward Trust. 

    Homeward Trust is a non-profit organization that plays an important role in addressing homelessness in Edmonton. Along with providing funding and oversight to service providers, it manages the “by-name list.”

    The “by-name list” is list of people experiencing homelessness who are ready to be connected to housing support. That’s how the future of residents of bridge housing will be identified. Once selected, residents receive on-site health and well-being supports. They will also be connected with a housing worker who will help them secure housing that meets their needs, whether that's supportive housing, affordable housing or market housing. You can learn more about supportive and affordable housing at edmonton.ca/affordablehousing .

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    Without having support services present and with the temporary residents being required to leave during the day, is there an action plan to facilitate support services access nearby or is the plan mearly to dump the temporary residents onto 118 and the surrounding community during daylight hours? Without support services it looks like you’re pulling people out of the river valley away from the support services targeting them there to provide a roof overnight and little else. Looking at similar actions in cities like Victoria BC where structures have been used without providing support services has had profoundly negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods hardly fills me with confidence this is little more than optics over meaningful action.

    Is it a home or a barn Asked 16 days ago

    Bridge housing provides a temporary home for people while they focus on the search for permanent housing in a supportive environment. It is continuous stay accommodation, meaning residents do not have to leave during the day. 

    Residents will have their own room, storage space, access to washroom and shower facilities, laundry, meals and on-site support services. Every resident will work with a housing support worker to identify their housing needs and goals. 

    Together, they will create a tailored plan that will help them work toward securing housing. The residents will also receive the health and social supports they need to transition into housing, whether it's medical or pharmacy care, mental health care, disability services, wellness supports or life skills. These supports will be offered on-site or the residents will receive help to access them off-site. You can learn more about bridge housing by watching the video presentation on this page. 

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    How will these residents living in bridge housing be monitored for success and ensure they are succeeding in finding a permanent residence?

    Val Asked 17 days ago

    Bridge housing allows people who want to be housed to focus on their search in a supportive environment. Every resident will work with a housing support worker to identify their housing needs and goals. Together, they will create a tailored plan that will help them work toward securing housing.

    The residents will also receive the health and social supports they need to transition into housing, whether it's medical or pharmacy care, mental health care, disability services, wellness supports or life skills. These supports will be offered on-site or the residents will receive help to access them off-site. 

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    What kind of training will the 24/7 staff have to support those using bridge housing?

    Ricki Asked 17 days ago

    On-site staff include a program manager responsible for oversight and management of the bridge housing program; housing support workers, who help connect residents with housing that works for them; resident support staff, who support the residents' stabilization, foster self-sufficiency, and assist their focus on housing; a cultural support worker; cooks and housekeepers. Staff are also trained in the Housing First philosophy (which you can learn about in the above video), policies and procedures around crisis intervention and de-escalation, critical incident reporting and working alone, as well as first aid and CPR.  

    Residents are also connected with other services, including medical and pharmacy services, mental health care, disability services, wellness supports or life skills.