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New multi-sensory room opens at supportive housing in Edmonton

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The new Snoezelen®, a multi-sensory space, is now open at Hope Terrace supportive housing in King Edward Park. The immersive suite uses lighting effects, colour, sounds, music, and scents to enable people living with developmental disabilities, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, to self-regulate.

“We often talk about how supportive housing is tailored to meet the needs of people who call it home and this is exactly what we mean,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “Supportive housing prevents houselessness by not only providing affordable housing but also the wraparound supports people need to stay housed. I am proud of what the City and its partners have accomplished through these five supportive housing sites and I look forward to moving ahead on more.”

The $34,000 Snoezelen® is available to residents of Hope Terrace and was funded by the Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network (EFAN). Construction of the $10.3M supportive housing site was led by the City, with funding support from the federal government as part of the first round of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). The 34-unit building is now owned by Homeward Trust and operated by Bissell Centre, with operational funding from the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada.

“The Snoezelen® is a great addition to the innovative services supportive housing can offer to individuals,” said Bissell Centre’s Chief Programs Officer, Johanna Knettig. “It is an effective tool that can help assist residents at Hope Terrace with their unique self-regulation needs.”

Supportive housing is a model that can include a wide range of support levels, tailored to meet the specific needs of the residents. Residents are matched to a program by Homeward Trust, Alberta Health Services, and the operator. Many buildings are staffed 24 hours a day, helping residents access a variety of supports specific to their needs, including health services, counselling, cultural supports and life skills training.

“Supportive housing provides the programs for those with complex health challenges, system and individualized trauma, and enables them to sign a lease, pay rent, and have a home to call their own,” said Homeward Trust’s Chief Executive Officer Susan McGee.

Supportive housing is critical infrastructure and plays a key role in the City’s plan to end and prevent homelessness. The City will receive at least $12.5 million through the third round of the Government of Canada’s RHI for the construction of more supportive housing.

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