Community members in Edmonton’s King Edward Park are speaking out about a proposed supportive housing complex at the intersection of 82nd Avenue and 93rd Street.
Neighbours say they’re worried it will spark an increase in crime but the city says there is no evidence to support that.
“[For] this particular project, the target is to have about 30 people, in terms of capacity, living at that site,” said Hani Quan, manager of housing policy and partnerships at the City of Edmonton.
The city has a goal of developing 900 supportive housing units over six years.
“Being able to provide this kind of housing helps us address issues of homelessness. It helps us address the complex needs that a lot of these folks are experiencing,” Quan explained.
While the idea is to help the city’s most vulnerable, those who live right beside this particular site say they don’t want it there.
“When you start putting in developments like the one that they are suggesting and the [Youth Empowerment & Support Services] shelter is already there and I think, logistically, it’s just going to really bring down the neighbourhood,” resident Kathryn Griffin said.
Griffin moved to the area over a year ago and said she has noticed issues.
“I don’t even feel safe walking in the ravine early mornings with my dog because there’s someone living under the bridge and there [are] needles everywhere and to add to that problem is not really what we want,” Griffin said.
The city says based on its research and analysis, it has never found a correlation between supportive housing and crime.
“There’s going to be 24/7 onsite staffing, so there’s already a number of things in place in terms of how these facilities are run that will help ensure that there is not only safety for the residents but safety for the surrounding community,” Quan said.
The area’s councillor says he’s also heard concerns about more people moving in.
“When it comes to the density, it really boils down the standard issues: traffic, safety, property values… This is what we hear a lot,” Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickle said.
The city will be holding virtual engagements and surveys for community input before going to council again on June 29.
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