Posted on Nov 28, 2020
ALBERTA’S NDP CALL ON UCP TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE SUPPORTS TO PROTECT ALBERTANS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS FROM GROWING COVID-19 OUTBREAK
The NDP are renewing their call for Jason Kenney and the UCP to provide more support for Albertans experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. As well, the Opposition believes daily statistics on outbreaks at emergency shelters should be included in daily briefings provided by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“It is clear the UCP have not been transparent with the situation being faced by Albertans experiencing homelessness during this pandemic,” said Marie Renaud, NDP MLA for Community Social Services. “Albertans living in vulnerable situations should be treated with dignity and they aren’t getting it from this government.
“Just as data is provided on outbreaks in long term care and schools, we also need to know what the situation is for people who need to access emergency shelters.”
Media reports indicate that the emergency shelter at the Edmonton Convention Centre is lowering its capacity from 300 people to 165 to help slow an outbreak at the facility. The problems faced by homeless Edmontonians began in the spring when the UCP closed a shelter at the Edmonton Expo Centre without warning.
“This isn’t a new problem,” Renaud said. “This Government has hidden nine months to come up with a proper plan to properly support and house homeless Albertans during this pandemic. They’ve barely lifted a finger.”
NDP Seniors and Housing Critic Lori Sigurdson said that more needs to be invested into affordable housing to address this issue.
“The solution to this problem is immediate and accessible affordable housing,” Sigurdson said. “Empty hotels, empty post-secondary dorms, you name it — there are options to do this right and to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The UCP drastically cut the rental supplement program by 24 per cent in the 2019 Budget and cut housing maintenance funding in the 2020 budget by $53 million. Furthermore, the Minister of Seniors and Housing has yet to release her report on proposed changes to affordable housing.
The Alberta NDP is developing its own plan for affordable housing as part of its future economic vision at www.AlbertasFuture.ca. Albertans are encouraged to provide their feedback and ideas on that site.