Temporary shelter at Edmonton Convention Centre closes after 6 months

The temporary pandemic shelter at the Edmonton Convention Centre will close its doors Friday.

Tipinawâw opened at the convention centre on Oct. 30, 2020 to provide the city’s vulnerable population with shelter through the winter.

The 24/7 accommodation provided people with a number of services, including meals, laundry and showers, as well as mental health and cultural supports.

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Demand for the services was high, with Tipinawâw consistently full for both day and overnight services, the City of Edmonton said Friday.

More than 600 unique individuals accessed drop-in day services per day. Upwards of 300 people stayed overnight each day. A total of 5,000 unique people access the facility over the six-month period it was open.

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“Tipinawâw has provided vulnerable Edmontonians with a place to go, to stay safe and warm and to access important services to support them on their path towards stable housing,” said Christel Kjenner, director of affordable housing and homelessness.

“The collaborative response of the homeless serving sector has been critical in meeting the needs of vulnerable people since the start of the pandemic when physical distancing requirements reduced the shelter spaces and day spaces available.”

The total cost of Tipinawâw was $13.9 million. The federal and provincial governments provided $8 million through funding to help municipalities respond to COVID-19. Other funding was provided by the City of Edmonton ($2.5 million), Homeward Trust ($1.65 million) and the Family and Community Support Services Program ($1.5 million).

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With Tipinawâw closing, day services will be provided at other locations beginning Saturday.

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Bissell Centre will restart daytime services at its location at 10530 – 96 St. Extended daytime hours will be offered seven days a week. People will have access to meals, washrooms, mental health, financial, employment, housing and cultural services.

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Boyle Street Community Services will offer additional daytime services and hours at its location at 10116 – 105 Ave. Access to washrooms, clothing and personal hygiene supplies, cultural supports, housing, mental health and ID services will be offered.

When it comes to overnight services, the city said there are spaces available within the existing shelter system.

Hope Mission will transfer its temporary shelter operations from Commonwealth Stadium to the Spectrum building at the Exhibition Lands. It will be open from May until Oct. 31, 2021. The space will be able to accommodate up to 150 per day and offer overnight shelter, meals, washrooms, showers and social supports.

Hope Mission downtown, Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre, Youth Empowerment & Support Services are all still open 24/7. The Mustard Seed is also operating 24/7 and overnight shelter spaces at four churches on the south side.

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