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Edmonton’s Chinatown to see a new hybrid support service hub

The province’s announcement of additional funding for homelessness and addictions services for Edmonton and Calgary Saturday will include a new hybrid support centre in Edmonton’s Chinatown.

The downtown neighborhood has seen an increase in violence this year, with the community becoming very outspoken after the shooting of local business owner in May.

The recommendation for the hub as a pilot project was announced during a press conference in Edmonton Saturday and follows the recommendations made by a homelessness task force created by the province in the fall of 2021.

The new hub is an integrative approach to homelessness, designed to offer well-rounded support for those in the community, including police mental health, addictions and financial services.

Read more:

Alberta to provide more funding to addictions, homelessness to Calgary, Edmonton

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There needs to be more support than just housing, said task force co-chairs Dale McFee, Edmonton Police Services chief of police, and Patricia Jones, president of the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

“I am particularly passionate about moving toward great system integration and co-ordination so that the people we serve are not faced with unnecessary administrative barriers and receive the support they need when they need it, how they need it. And with customized, integrated recovery supports because housing alone does not heal people — you need the integrated supports,” Jones said.

The task force’s recommendation, of which there are 14 total, put all people of the community first, she said — business owners and the homeless alike.

Read more:

Edmonton police lay murder charges in 2 Chinatown deaths

All 14 recommendations were approved by the province, and five will be acted upon immediately including creation of the hub space.

“The old siloed approach that stagnated the process for many, many years is no longer the one that we need to look forward to,” McFee said.

He said we need to “come up with a game plan with how we’re going to deal with open-air drug use in the city,” he said. It’s largely mental health and addictions that is driving the violence in Chinatown, he added. And the community requires another place other than a jail cell that people can go to deal with addictions.

Source: Global News

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