In 2023 as your City Councillor we convened a number of exciting events. If you missed out, video links are below! To make sure you don't miss out on others this year, make sure to sign up for my email newsletter at michaeljanz.ca/updates or search for me on what's left of social media!
You've probably noticed the dramatic number of encampments, unhoused and vulnerable folks on the southside of Edmonton, on the LRT, Downtown.
Please take a minute to send an email (template below) to speak up for the less fortunate in our community.
I want to share with you an update about from Mayor Sohi our Edmonton’s Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan and the work our City is doing to build a safer Edmonton for all of us.
While the City is doing its part to invest in community safety, we need your assistance to advocate to the Government of Alberta to address the root causes of social disorder in their jurisdiction.
To make this task a little easier, their team has drafted a letter that you can use in your efforts to advocate to the provincial government.
I encourage you to read through this backgrounder, and share/revise the template letter and if you can, add your own perspective.
Together we can become a united voice in advocacy. We need urgent action, especially as the weather gets colder.
Thank you in advance,
Provincial Advocacy Letter Template for you to share.
Dear Premier and Ministers,
Thank you for your ongoing interest and concern over the safety of the City of Edmonton’s Chinatown, Downtown Core and Transit system. We appreciate your efforts to ensure that the City of Edmonton is a safe and vibrant place to live, build a business, work, and play.
On July 9th, the City of Edmonton presented the Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan. Since the introduction of the plan, the City of Edmonton has taken concrete steps to improve community safety and well being, including providing $15M in funding for the Healthy Streets Operations Centre, increased cleaning of public spaces, increased police and peace officer presence and funding for community safety and wellbeing.
I am writing to support this plan and to ask for you to partner with the City of Edmonton to address some of the root causes of the crisis we are currently facing. Edmonton has seen a dramatic increase in unhoused people (nearly doubling since 2019), as well as an increase in drug poisoning deaths, people experiencing mental health crises, and the ongoing impact on intergenerational trauma on Indigenous peoples.
To support community safety in our community we ask the Government of Alberta to:
Adopt the City of Edmonton's Minimum Emergency Shelter Standards and provide additional funding to shelter providers to implement the standards.
Provide immediate funding to increase emergency shelter provision over the winter months to prevent losing the gains in ridership and increased transit safety as people seek shelter in the transit system over the winter months.
Fund recovery-oriented housing by providing immediate funding to Homeward Trust to ensure that the 453 permanent supportive housing units on track for completion in 2022 and 2023 are able to deliver required wraparound services to unhoused people with complex needs.
Develop a comprehensive integrated release plan for people being discharged from correctional facilities and hospitals to prevent them from being discharged into houselessness.
Additionally, it is clear that Edmonton needs more equitable support from the provincial government to address the housing crisis. We ask the Government of Alberta to address the discrepancy between the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary’s emergency shelter capacity to increase the number of shelter spaces in Edmonton to better reflect the 1,285 people currently known to be accessing shelter or sleeping rough. Currently, there are approximately 622 permanently funded emergency shelter spaces in Edmonton versus 1758 spaces in Calgary. We are also asking that annual Outreach Support Services Initiative (OSSI) funding to Homeward trust be brought in line with the funding provided by comparable municipalities.
This year, your government posted a $13.2 billion surplus. This is more than four times what the entirety of the City of Edmonton’s operating budget at $3.1 billion. Please listen to your constituents, business leaders, and community members and fund needed interventions to ensure everyone in Alberta’s capital city can thrive.
As community leaders, we are committed to building a safe and vibrant Edmonton, but we cannot do it alone. We appreciate the City of Edmonton taking the steps necessary to develop the Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan which we hope will improve safety and wellbeing in Edmonton. We also urge you to consider the funding requests made by the City that will address the social determinants of crime and social disorder.
It was really promising to see the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce pull together a sold-out room today of community and business leaders around a "housing first" strategy, building on the best-practices already demonstrated by Murray Soroka (Jasper Place Wellness Centre) and Bridge Healing creator Dr. Louis Francescutti. I want to share a few highlights...
We are building towards a city of two million people– but we can’t afford to be a city of two million cars. Here are ways we are making transit our transit system better.