Former hotel becomes home for at-risk Edmontonians

Dozens of vulnerable Edmontonians are settling into their new permanent homes in south Edmonton.

The Mustard Seed Prairie Manor, at 10333 University Avenue, opened in late summer and is now 70 per cent full. It’s an 85-unit supportive housing facility for residents who were previously homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“Many Edmontonians who have the means take housing and stability for granted, but there are many Edmontonians that don’t have that stability and it’s our fundamental responsibility to do more,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi Tuesday.

“Prairie Manor is not just welcoming Edmontonians who might struggle to keep finding stable housing this winter, it’s giving them a permanent place to call home.”

The number of people experiencing homelessness doubled during the pandemic and remains high, Sohi said. Of approximately 2,700 people in Edmonton who are homeless, around 1,250 are living outdoors or in shelters.

Sohi said investment in housing not only helps those experiencing homelessness or unstable housing but reduces strain and costs on the judicial and health-care systems in the long-run.

Tenants sign leases and pay a rent based on 30 per cent of their income. The building has dedicated floors for low mobility and sober living, and residents have access to wrap-around services and 24-hour on-site staff.

The new Mustard Seed Prairie Manor apartments all include a full kitchen, as well as access to on-site staff support and other wrap-around services for tenants. (Darcy Seaton/CTV News Edmonton)

There are 49 units reserved for Indigenous people, which Sohi said represents the 57 per cent of Edmontonians experiencing homelessness that identify as Indigenous.

Another 26 units are dedicated to women, he said, who face additional barriers and challenges when homeless.

The former hotel was renovated into apartment suites using $9.2 million provided by the federal government and $1.7 from the City of Edmonton. It’s one of eight projects funded by the city and the Government of Canada under the federal Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI), a national program dedicated to housing for vulnerable Canadians.

“This site, made possible through the Rapid Housing Initiative, will bring much needed relief to many of the city’s most vulnerable residents,” said Randy Boissonnault, Federal Tourism Minister and Edmonton MP.

Since 2015, Boissonnault said 71,000 supportive housing units have been built in Alberta using federal funding. 

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