Poverty takes many forms. Sometimes it’s an empty lunchbox, sometimes it’s having to choose between filling a prescription or paying a utility bill, and sometimes, poverty becomes so extreme that it results in someone becoming homeless. Currently, roughly 1,700 people are experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.
Attaining and maintaining quality, safe and affordable housing is a challenge for many people living in poverty. Shelter is by far the biggest expense for people living with low income, with some people spending 30 percent or more of their total household income on housing costs.
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region envisions a community where people are able to access and maintain their basic needs. We know that individuals thrive when they have a stable and safe home. United Way helps create a network of community supports to provide comfort, dignity and opportunities to improve housing stability.
Thanks to the help of donors, United Way invests in several programs and initiatives that help people access and maintain safe and secure housing. These include care kits of hygiene items, a shelter for those fleeing domestic violence, emergency response funds to prevent evictions, welcome home kits of household goods for newly housed individuals, and connection to additional support services and benefits.
United Way also works collaboratively with our partners to advance systems and policy change to provide stable housing. Every individual is unique and no story is the same, but many people experiencing homelessness are also battling debilitating issues such as mental illness, addiction and trauma. In addition to housing supports, investments are made in services such as distress lines, counselling, and financial literacy to address both the urgent and long-term needs of the whole individual.
After many years of living on the streets, Mike received a range of supports that helped end his homelessness.