Can you imagine being homeless on Edmonton's streets? Charlie can. But, if you're like most of us, you've never even dreamed of having to go through the hardships experienced by someone who lives on the street. Every. Single. Day. You're fortunate not to know what it's like to struggle to protect your few possessions from quick hands. You're lucky to have a warm bed you can crawl into on biting-cold, wintery nights.
Charlie has lived on the street in Edmonton for 3 years. He's 53, but looks a decade older. The street does that to you. He has bright brown eyes and a charming smile. It would be hard for you to miss his scruffy grey beard and mid-length brown and grey hair that he tames with a comb, which he always keeps in his bag.
This winter, Charlie lines up most nights at inner-city shelters, hoping to secure a bed. But sometimes, the beds have already been taken by the time he gets there, so he's forced to find somewhere to sleep outside in the freezing cold. Each time this happens, Charlie has to keep moving, so he won't lose a limb or freeze to death.
Charlie is on a list for affordable housing, but he's been on that list for a year now. There just aren't enough affordable options for the almost 1,800 people who are living on Edmonton's streets.
Will you add your voice to ours and insist that people like Charlie receive affordable housing? There's overwhelming evidence that once people who were chronically homeless have been housed, they stay housed and improve their lives.
Everyone deserves to be housed.
Housing is the best intervention for homelessness. When housing comes first, people who are homeless can move forward in their lives more successfully. Please join us in affirming the need for more accessible housing here in Edmonton and give people like Charlie a voice!