Basic Needs

The Problem

There are many Edmontonians whose basic needs are not being met, including regular access to water, food, shelter, and clothing. Without consistent access to these essentials, people are unable to survive, let alone thrive in our city.

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the population of Edmontonians whose basic needs are at risk has grown. These Edmontonians live paycheck to paycheck, and in today’s reality, job security is hard to come by. What makes this matter even more concerning is that a growing number of Edmonton youths are among the population that are unable to have their basic needs met.

For years, we have been making ideological statements that fail to improve the day-to-day lives of marginalized and underserved individuals. We have also been declaring sole responsibility for serious and complex issues - like solving poverty or homelessness - that are not achievable by any one organization or order of government. Rather, impactful and meaningful change on these issues will take all members of our community.

As a city, we need to do all that we can - within our means and mandate - to enable a life of dignity for our most vulnerable Edmontonians.

The Policy

Make a noticeable difference in the day-to-day lives of those who need it most by bringing the city’s best assets, effort, and commitment forward.

  • Provide the essentials
    1. Provide access to public washrooms, water, and power in City parks.
    2. Make the mental health and bridge housing connections operating at the Stanley Milner library available to other City libraries and recreation centre locations that express the need.
    3. Create a plan to scale and increase the frequency and access to key YEG Youth and Homeless Connect services.
    4. Bolster supports for community food initiatives, including community gardens, markets, and cooperatives.
    5. Provide free and accessible hygiene and PPE, including menstrual products, masks, and sharps disposal, at all public City facilities.

  • Remove the additional burdens
    1. Review and eliminate bylaws that criminalize poverty-related activities and stop excessive ticketing for those without the means to pay.
    2. Stop tent slashing and/or destroying people’s dwellings, and instead, relocate people with dignity and respect.
    3. Support community and neighbourhood development initiatives by simplifying and accelerating the zoning change process for converting problem properties, building affordable housing, group homes, transitional and shelter housing.
    4. Remove barriers preventing secondary and garden suite housing.
    5. Accelerate the issuing of development permits to more affordable housing projects with:
      1. A commitment to two-week permit response turnarounds.
      2. Expedited permit approvals within two months.
      3. An escalation process for complex issues.

  • Land and advocacy to support housing
    1. Provide a discount to purchase City land/building assets to community hub service providers and nonprofit organizations applying to build affordable homes.
    2. Match a portion of provincial and federal housing grants with in-kind services or City land.
    3. Provide Edmontonians with the tools to effectively support City advocacy to other orders of government.

  • Enable and support collective impact
    1. Support and enable the creation of a community-nominated network of Edmonton leaders that will represent a "collective" partnership with the 60+ community service providers. They will:
      1. Steward the creation of a vision and strategy for Edmonton’s collective impact initiatives, mobilize and maximize funding, and advance relevant municipal policies;
      2. Ensure that we use our collective resources collaboratively and do not unnecessarily duplicate programs and services;
      3. Engage and activate private industry partnerships;
      4. Ensure quality service delivery that begins with the foundations of empathy, cultural sensitivity, dignity, and respect for those being served.


The Outcome

An Edmonton that works for everyone - no matter a person’s beliefs, origins, circumstances, or what part of the city they live in - and includes Edmontonians that face the challenges of living in poverty or not having a home.

All Edmontonians have reasonable access to the basic necessities and dignities required to be active or get involved in building stronger communities. Neighbourhood residents and stakeholders collectively influence their community’s future to attain a quality of life that is socially and economically healthy and sustainable. The City is viewed to be a constructive, effective, and essential partner by the organizations that have the mandate to serve this community.