Edmonton Convention Centre opening its doors to the homeless Friday

The Edmonton Convention Centre will open its doors to the city’s homeless starting Friday.

Halls A, B, and C of the convention centre are expected to accommodate up to 300 people for day services and overnight shelter by the end of next week.

With 85,000 square-feet available adequate room will be provided to accommodate COVID-19 physical distancing protocols.

The City of Edmonton said in a news release that the building will provide a warm and safe place for Edmonton’s homeless to go as winter sets in.

“Anyone experiencing homelessness, including individuals at encampments, can use the temporary accommodation at the convention centre,” the news release said.

COVID-19 screening measures will be required before anyone is allowed inside.

Boyle Street Community Services, The Mustard Seed, Bissell Centre and the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society will work around the clock to operate the space.

The Edmonton Convention Centre is expected to act as temporary accommodation for the homeless until Mar. 31 of next year.

With support from the City, Hope Mission will also create a temporary shelter at Commonwealth Stadium.

That space will be able to serve up to 100 people who are experiencing homelessness.

Currently being used as an overnight shelter only, plans are in the works to convert Commonwealth to a 24/7 model.

The Mustard Seed will also be moving to a 24/7 shelter model with its new facility in south Edmonton. That shelter is scheduled to open Nov. 2.

“This collaborative response increases the number of emergency accommodations and provides significantly expanded access to daytime support services in Edmonton,” the news release said of the announced shelter openings.

The temporary accommodations will use $8 million in funding that was provided by the federal and provincial governments to help cities respond to COVID-19.

The City of Edmonton will also reallocate an additional $500,000 from its 2020 budget to help support the shelters.

Roughly 2,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.