January 23, 2023
Mark Snaterse, executive director for Addiction and Mental Health in Edmonton Zone, attended the recent announcement about the new Bridge Healing Transitional Accommodation Program. This important partnership with Jasper Place Wellness Centre will offer discharged ED patients who are experiencing homelessness a safe place to recover and work towards permanent housing with the support of community-based services. Photo by Evan Isbister .
For over 25 years, the Strathmore community has honoured their loved ones by donating to the Strathmore District Health Foundation’s Tree of Hope campaign each winter. Funds raised support palliative care at the Strathmore District Health Services. Photo by Evan Isbister.
Story by Kirsten Goruk | Photos by Evan Isbister
EDMONTON — A newly-launched program aims to bridge the gap between emergency department visits and access to safe housing and community supports for those experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Jasper Place Wellness Centre are partnering to open 36 news transition beds which will be referred to as the Bridge Healing Transitional Accommodation Program. These community beds are designed to improve health outcomes for people experiencing homelessness upon discharge from Edmonton hospital emergency departments (EDs).
The beds, which will be available to clients in late January, represent an important investment in the overall wellness and health of this vulnerable population.
“The program will help clients transition to appropriate permanent housing and they will have access to a range of community-based AHS services including addiction and mental health and home care, among others,” says Mark Snaterse, executive director for Addiction and Mental Health for Edmonton Zone.
“The duration of stays in the program will vary depending on each situation.”
Given the fact that many people experiencing homelessness are often dealing with chronic health conditions, and the vulnerability of their situations means that they are more susceptible to finding themselves in healthcare crisis, which results in repeat emergency department visits.
The Bridge Healing program is designed to provide clients with easy access to a number of healthcare and community supports, with the hope that it will help them manage their health in a more stable way.
“We’re excited to partner with AHS in this unique accommodation program,” says Taylor Soroka, co-founder and vice president of strategy and engagement for Jasper Place Wellness Centre.
“We’re committed to supporting informed, community-led solutions and this is just one example. We’d like to thank AHS for their support and belief in this important work, and we recognize the ongoing work of community members, especially those with lived experience in houselessness, who have advised and supported this program.”
This program is the result of a number of collaborations, both within AHS and among its healthcare foundations, as well as the support of Jasper Place Wellness Centre, the City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta.
Snaterse adds: “We know there’s more work to be done as a society to support residents who are experiencing homelessness and this is just one example of what we can accomplish when we listen and work together.”