Our mission is to end chronic homelessness. One of the most critical ways in which we achieve this mission is to provide housing and housing options for those experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.
There are three streams of housing options for those experiencing homelessness - shelter, transitional/flexible, and permanent. Boyle Street does not directly offer shelter spaces, although we advocate for better standards in the shelter system. We focus our efforts as an agency on experimenting and creating transitional and permanent housing options to fit our community members’ needs and connecting those we serve to permanent market housing. Examples include:
housing units for female-identifying people -- sakihta kikinaw - located in the historic Stovel Block building
units in east of downtown Edmonton for male-identifying people
homes for supporting youth
an independent living apartment building for youth
homes for children who are not able to be with their caregivers
hotel model accommodation supporting units in Edmonton’s core
unit apartments located on-site at King Thunderbird Centre, our upcoming new community centre
As you can see, Boyle Street is deeply committed to providing a variety of housing options across the city of Edmonton, and they each work in unique ways to serve different needs.
For example, sakihta kikinaw (Cree for “house of love”) provides flexible, low-income housing for female-identifying people as a safe place to stay for as long as they need before transitioning into long-term housing. Boyle Street provides programming and 24/7 on-site workers to help support residents.
Individual suites and a common kitchen space will allow residents to further develop a sense of community, confidence and self-worth as they work to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
sakihta kikinaw practices a new housing model that Boyle Street calls “flexible housing.” It gives community members a safe space to stay for as long as they need — from several months to several years — before transitioning into long-term housing.
Another key example of our housing vision is our emphasis on Housing First, which is an approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. Housing First is an effective approach that exemplifies Boyle Street’s values - namely, that “each member of our community is deserving of a full measure of dignity, support, and respect.”
Housing First views housing as the foundation for life improvement and does not require people experiencing homelessness to finish a series of services or programs before they can access housing.
Many issues facing our community members, such as addiction or health problems, are intrinsically tied to their environment, and expecting them to address these problems before changing their environment is exactly backwards.
Housing First treats housing as a starting point rather than an end goal. Supportive services are offered - but not required. In the USA, Canada, and in Europe, Housing First generally ends homelessness for at least 8 out of every ten people, and it accomplishes this in a far more cost-efficient manner than traditional approaches.
Our housing vision is innovative - we know we can always improve. Our desire is to provide diverse options for diverse people, integrating our housing vision alongside supportive services and our harm prevention advocacy. Together, we believe we can end chronic homelessness in Edmonton.