Every Edmontonian should feel like they have a home in our city.
But ensuring the right supports are available for our most vulnerable residents is a complex issue. And we need to be real: we’re not going to fix homelessness tomorrow. There’s no one-size-fits-all, there’s no silver bullet.
I think one of the mistakes we make is talking about vulnerable citizens as if they are one uniform group with the same challenges, the same pressures, the same needs. In fact, our most vulnerable Edmontonians are a collection of individuals—they are our seniors, those living in poverty, our hard-to-house, our hard-to-house-addicted, people with disabilities, newcomers to our country, racialized people, those living in domestic violence situations, students—they are residents with unique needs in different circumstances living in neighbourhoods all across our city. And to truly help them, we need to meet them and their needs where they are.
1. We need a comprehensive review of our current approach to ensure no one is being overlooked, that we are differentiating between the needs of our residents.
It’s our responsibility to make sure we are providing targeted and progressive solutions that address their specific needs in the most effective way possible.
2. We need to take a hard look at our approach to funding, because success depends on a collaborator at the helm.
I’m committed to funding these supports based on a collaborative model and criteria, a data-driven funding model that rewards good outcomes for these clients.
By establishing clear and consistent standards and rewarding a solution- and outcome-oriented approach, we will maximize our investment and better provide for our residents.
3. All of our communities must be safe communities. We need to partner with our Edmonton Police Services to improve our approach to policing in our communities. We need to engage the right stakeholders–our agencies, our community leaders, and our community organizations—to build an outcome-driven approach to keep our residents safe, wherever they live in our city.
When I was on City Council, we made great progress on bar safety through a Jurisdictional Team Approach to an initiative called BarSafe. Under my leadership, we’ll look at something similar as a way to mobilize social service units so we can make sure the right service providers are going to where the problems exist.
We also need to ensure marginalized communities are not becoming overpoliced and underserved. Utilizing data to examine distribution of resources will help us to more quickly identify, correct, and redirect resources to better serve Edmontonians.
4. We need to tie our major capital investments to outcomes for our communities. By demanding that major City-funded projects are multi-use hubs available and accessible to all Edmontonians, and not just a fortunate few, we will both improve the standard of living for residents and create safe and welcoming facilities in areas of our city that might otherwise be without.
With empathy and determination, we can tackle the root causes and the symptoms that affect our most vulnerable, and make sure that in our city, all our residents can thrive.