Edmonton Homeless Commission

May 18, 2011 19:30 ET

Edmonton Homeless Commission Celebrates Big Successes With the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness and Urges Community Support

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 18, 2011) -

Editor's Note: There is one video and three photos associated with this press release.

On Monday, May 16, 2011 the Edmonton Homeless Commission released a Year 2 update on Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness and launched its new social marketing campaign with government officials and partners at an event in Sir Winston Churchill Square.

Two years into the implementation of the plan, the community is achieving considerable success. The Housing First teams have secured 956 permanent homes for 1,352 people who had been homeless – a number that exceeds the original year 2 targets of 450. In addition, more than 80 per cent of those people have successfully remained housed.

The success of the plan has had an impact on the number of people living on the streets of Edmonton. Last year's homeless count organized by Homeward Trust found, for the first time ever, that the number of homeless on our streets has dropped significantly – by over 20 per cent. In addition, there are also fewer people forced to use Edmonton's homelessness shelters.

"We have been very fortunate to have the support of our provincial government and the local social agencies who work really hard to find creative housing solutions and support services for the newly housed," said Anne Smith, Chair of the Edmonton Homeless Commission. "We've made outstanding progress in the first two years, but there is still a lot of work ahead. A long term commitment is required to translate our initial success into systemic, sustainable change. It is essential that we continue to work together to keep up the momentum."

Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness is rooted in the Housing First principle – everybody deserves a home of their own -- together with the supports they need to stay in that home. The Housing First approach is used extensively across North America to break the cycle of homelessness. This approach reduces costs to taxpayers over the long-term. Government studies have proven that placing people in houses with the supports they need to be successful is more cost effective than servicing their needs in shelters and on our streets.

The story of each person who has experienced homelessness and who has been housed is unique. The Edmonton Homeless Commission will be sharing many of these stories over the next few months as part of their new campaign, called "No Longer with Us". The aim of the social marketing campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of the Housing First principle. Silhouettes of human forms will be displayed in places where we might expect to see a homeless person standing, sitting, leaning or even sleeping. The silhouettes are in fact hand-written text that tells the story of a specific person who has, as a result of the implementation of the Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, broken free of the homelessness cycle. The campaign will be street-based and will include life size cutouts on bus benches, bus shelters, building walls and parkades.

"Through this campaign we're offering Edmontonians a unique perspective on the stories of the street and inviting them to become part of a community movement dedicated to ending homelessness in Edmonton. No Longer With Us is an opportunity to become an advocate by engaging friends, neighbours, and elected officials in the importance of ending homelessness", said Smith.

For a copy of the report and to obtain additional background information, please visit www.endedmontonhomelessness.com

For more information about the campaign, please visit www.nolongerwithus.com

About the Edmonton Homeless Commission

The Edmonton Homeless Commission was established by City Council in February 2009 along with their endorsement of Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. The role of the Commission is to oversee and champion the implementation of the Plan.

To view the video associated with this press release, please see the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOi2rufaj4

To view the first photo associated with this press release, please see the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20110518-518EHC1_800.jpg

To view the second photo associated with this press release, please see the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20110518-518EHC2_800.jpg

To view the third photo associated with this press release, please see the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20110518-518EHC3_800.jpg

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