More emergency shelter space opens at Indigenous-led Pimatsiwin in Edmonton’s northeast

By News Staff

Pallet homes and other emergency shelter space opened in Edmonton Tuesday, as a deep freeze continues to grip the city.

Dozens of new spaces became available at the Indigenous-led Pimatsiwin – at the former Sands Hotel at Fort Road in Edmonton’s northeast.

BACKGROUND: Pallet homes, trailers to soon open as emergency shelter spaces in Edmonton

Pimatsiwin, which already has indoor shelter space that houses 34 people, can now welcome more inside an oil field camp structure and four pallet homes in the parking lot of the former hotel.

The provincial government provided $3 million to Niginan Housing Ventures to operate those emergency shelter spaces.

“As an Indigenous-led agency, we are so grateful to have the opportunity to redefine what is a shelter space from an Indigenous lens,” Keri Cardinal, the CEO of Niginan Housing Ventures, said in a new release. “We lead with love and follow the four natural laws of kindness, honesty, sharing and strength to provide a kind, caring and supportive environment for those that need it the most.

“Indigenous people on the streets have been dealing with complex housing needs and have already been traumatized, so we want to ensure they are not traumatized in their housing environment.”

Trailer to soon open as emergency shelter spaces in Edmonton. (Laura Krause, CityNews)

The spaces opened as the city is nearly finished clearing eight encampments it has deemed “high risk.” Seven of those have already come down; Edmonton is holding off dismantling the final one – at 95 Street and Rowland Road – after a stand-off Tuesday.

Pimatsiwin also offers permanent supportive housing, which opened two weeks ago. When fully operational, Pimatsiwin will have 110 permanent spaces and 53 temporary spaces available.

Alberta also gave $2.3 million to Enoch Cree Nation to operate 100 emergency shelter spaces at Maskokamik, located in the former Coliseum Inn. Ten of those spaces were slated to open Tuesday.

The province says there are now 1,550 shelter spaces available in Edmonton, with the goal of getting that number to 1,700.

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