Homeward Trust has been instrumental in providing leadership in how we address homelessness in our city. As system planner in Edmonton, Homeward Trust collaborates with multiple agencies and organizations, as well as all orders of government, ensuring alignment and accountability of resources and efforts. As the designated community based organization for both the Province of Alberta and the Federal Government of Canada, and the management body responsible for implementing the local and provincial Plans to End Homelessness, we are responsible for planning with the community and administering public funding for housing and homelessness accordingly.
Homeward Trust has been recognized both locally and nationally as a leader in the work to end homelessness. Since 2009, over 6,500 people have been housed and supported through the Housing First program in our community. We directly operationalize and coordinate 20 Housing First teams, serving over 1,200 clients at any point in time.
Today, we have a better understanding about the scope of homelessness in our community and are able to continually adapt our approach, ensuring funds are allocated towards efforts that have the greatest impact. Through improvements in data collection, we are have a clearer picture of need and where to allocate resources. We are able to course-correct faster, prioritize need in real-time, and improve the coordination of service delivery.
For someone experiencing homelessness, there should be no wrong door to accessing housing. Our goal is simple but not easy: ending homelessness in Edmonton.
Homeward Trust formed in June 2008 from the amalgamation of two organizations, the Edmonton Housing Trust Fund (EHTF) and the Edmonton Joint Planning Committee on Housing (EJPCOH). This unification was the result of the 2005 – 2009 Community Plan’s call for a governance review.
Both organizations had been mandated to address safe, affordable housing and support services for those experiencing and at risk of becoming homeless in Edmonton. Both were also driven by the same goal: to implement the Edmonton Community Plan on Housing and Support Services. When formed, Homeward Trust took over these functions.
Since our inception we have grown to support programs, research, and use of data analysis. The Government of Alberta’s increase in funding has been the largest driver of change. Today, we administer funds on behalf of three orders of government, with additional donations and revenues accrued through in-kind and financial support and sponsorship of community organizations and businesses.
It is essential we work closely with Indigenous communities and stakeholders so we can address the disproportionate number of Indigenous peoples experiencing homelessness in Edmonton. Our Board of Directors and the Indigenous Advisory Council ensure Indigenous communities contribute to the review and decision-making process.