July 25th, 2024

Edmonton council meeting hears call for homelessness emergency

By The Canadian Press on January 15, 2024.

A housing and homelessness emergency is expected to be declared at a special meeting of Edmonton city council Monday afternoon. Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi speaks at a press conference in Edmonton, Thursday, June 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – The mayor of Alberta’s capital has introduced a motion calling for an emergency to be declared over homelessness, along with a plan for immediate and systemic change.

Amarjeet Sohi says, if approved, his first action would be to invite Alberta’s social services minister, the federal housing minister and the grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations to discuss possible solutions at an emergency meeting.

Sohi is also calling for city and community leaders to team up and create a future vision, as well as raise money to help support social services efforts.

The motion also calls for a verbal report by Feb. 27 to provide a list of immediate actions that the city can take.

Temperatures across Alberta have been below -30 C for nearly a week during which time, police in Edmonton dismantled the last of eight homeless encampments deemed by the city to be high risk.

The Coalition for Justice and Human Rights has filed a lawsuit over the city’s encampment eviction policy and is seeking an injunction to put restrictions on the city and police response to camps in certain situations, such as when temperatures get too low.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2024.

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