Housing First

housing first

Homeward Trust embraces the principle of Housing First; every person has the right to a safe, secure home. This principle is at the core of both the Government of Alberta and City of Edmonton 10 year plans to end homelessness. Homeward Trust  officially began the Housing First Support Program on April 1, 2009.

How do we do it?

The focus is on ending homelessness by providing permanent housing and follow-up support. Individuals who are experiencing homelessness are housed first and then given appropriate supports.

  • The Housing First Support Program is intended to last 12 months
  • Clients are stabilized then transitioned to a reduced level of support
  • The final stages of the program involve planning to discharge the client once self-sufficient

Coordinated Access to Housing First Programs

It takes a community working together to end homelessness in Edmonton. Coordinated Access mateches people who are experiencing homelessness to the right supports for housing, based on their needs. Coordinated Access manages entry into Housing first program and referrals to supportive housing units funded under Edmonton's respective plan to end homelessness.

Coordinated Access: 

  • Ensures those with the greatest need are served first. Housing First is not “first come, first served. 
  • Matches people who are experiencing homelessness with the best service available to meet their needs. People and families experiencing homelessness can access the services they need and are eligible for, without having to call or visit multiple social service programs. 
  • Ensures access to services is based on a consistent process. Anyone in contact with the homeless-serving sector will experience the same assessments and prioritization. There are multiple screening locations within Edmonton using the “No Wrong Door Approach.”

Why Coordinated Access Is Needed:

The need for assistance with housing is greater than what is available in the community, so services must be prioritized. Some people have been homeless for a long time. Even more find themselves without safe or stable housing for a short period. It is important to understand what support needs a person or family has, so that services can be targeted to those who need the most help getting into housing and also to stay housed. Most people experiencing homelessness for a short time can resolve the situation on their own without a program like Housing First.

All it takes is one application at a screening site of a person's choice.

Step 1: Screening

The team asks basic eligibility questions, such as how long you have been experiencing homelessness. The screening for Housing First may be completed at this time, or a separate appointment will be made. If  you have not been experiencing homelessness for an extended period of time, you will receive information about alternative resources.  
The Coordinated Access team uses a simple  screening tool to quickly identify your needs and then connect you to housing and services. 

Step 2: Connection to Housing First

  • Once you are connected to a Housing First program, you will receive:
  • Intake with the Housing First team.
  • Opportunity to view potential suites that meet your needs with the help of your worker. Once you have found your home, you will be able to sign a lease.
  • Move in assistance and household set up.
  • Regular home visits as well as assistance in connecting to community-based services.

Coordinated Access Screening Sites

  • Bent Arrow: 11648 - 85 St, 2nd Tuesday of each month 
  • Bissell Centre: 10527 - 96 St, Mon-Fri 7 am - 3 pm
  •      Stanley A Milner Library: Tue 1 - 3 pm     
  •      The Neighbour Centre: 7221 - 104 St, Mon 2 - 4 pm
  • Boyle Street Community Services: 10116 - 105 Ave, Drop in Monday 1 - 3 pm
  • E4C: 9321 Jasper Ave, Drop in or call 780-424-7543
  • George Spady: #100, 10507 - 81 Ave, Mon-Fri 9 am - 2 pm, 587-523-1530 ext 11   
  • Homeward Trust: 780-702-5267, supportservices@homewardtrust.ca
  • Hope Mission: 780-422-2018 ext 237
  • Jasper Place Wellness Centre: 15210 Stony Plain Rd, Mon-Thu 9 - 11 am 
  • YMCA Homeward Bound Program: 10211 - 105 St, Drop in Tuesday 1 - 4 pm


Agencies delivering Housing First in Edmonton:

Housing First Services

Homeward Trust provides a number of services to agencies and clients including:

  • Housing First Worker Training: Workers regularly attend workshops and training sessions, where they learn best practices and refine required skills
  • Rental Assistance: With support from the Government of Alberta, Human Services, clients receive partial funding towards their rent
  • Furniture: Through the social enterprise, Find, clients in the Housing First Support Program receive essential household items including furniture and small household items before moving into their home
  • Efforts to Outcomes: This case management and data collection system tracks client progress and information, enabling Homeward Trust and its partners to better meet the needs of clients in the Housing First Support Program.

Where are we now?

  • Since 2009, more than 5,500 people have found housing through the Housing First Support Program; more than 80% successfully remain in housing
  • Clients are living in more than 800 supported units across Edmonton and the Capital Region
  • Find has provided furniture, at no charge to the client, in more than 4,000 units