- Funds will let Bissell Centre operate at least 8 hours a day for six months.
- The city is working on a new encampment plan to assist mitigate problems connected to homeless camps, like the one in Rossdale, in 2020.
Edmonton’s Bissell Centre receives financial support to continue offering day services to thousands of homeless people over the following six months.
The City council decided Tuesday to give the center $1.8 million from the city’s emergency COVID-19 fund, established at the pandemic’s beginning.
City manager Andre Corbould told the council the shelter needs the cash promptly, as the recent grant deal for the refuge at 105th Avenue and 96th Street ends on April 30. It will take the center through the next six months.
“We ought to get going on this now,” Corbould said.
Gary St. Amand, CEO of the Bissell Centre, said the funds would allow them to remain open at least eight hours a day, six days a week, and offer essential assistance like food, clothing, showers, and laundry.
“It’s such a significant thing in terms of connecting with those resources for residents who have no other real options,” St. Amand said in an interview Tuesday.
Between May and December the previous year, some 5,200 customers used the center.
Christel Kjenner, acting director of social development, said the extended grant would also let the center offer Indigenous cultural services and referrals to housing.
The grant is set to expire as part of the city’s $10-million COVID-19 specific help approved by the council in 2021 to increase day shelter capacity at Boyle Street Community Services, Bissell Centre, and The Mustard Seed.
From now on, Boyle Street and The Mustard Seed will finance their operations through fundraising and donations, as they did before the outbreak, Kjenner said.
Source – cbc.ca