Tipinawâw – 24/7 Emergency Accommodation Amid COVID-19

With cold winter weather looming, and reduced shelter capacity in the local sector as a result of COVID-19 spacing requirements, there was an emergent need to provide shelter and safety from the outside elements for people experiencing homelessness. The Edmonton Convention Centre was opened as a 24/7 emergency accommodation space and operated by local partnering agencies. While this response faced some significant challenges, there were also some great triumphs. We invite you into Tipinawâw.

Episode One – Mobilizing for Winter

With cold winter weather looming, and reduced shelter capacity in the local sector as a result of COVID-19 spacing requirements, there was an emergent need to provide shelter and safety from the outside elements for people experiencing homelessness. The Edmonton Convention Centre was opened as a 24/7 emergency accommodation space and operated by local partnering agencies. While this response faced some significant challenges, there were also some great triumphs. We invite you into Tipinawâw.


Episode Two – More Than Just a Name

Tipinawâw not only provided shelter and safety from the outside elements for people experiencing homelessness, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society brought Indigenous culture to those at the 24/7 emergency accommodation space, allowing some to experience their own culture for the first time. This connectedness to one’s culture is a powerful step in their healing journey. We invite you into Tipinawâw.


Tipinawâw: Episode Three – Outbreak

Following public health guidelines like physical distancing is hard. It’s even harder when you don’t have a home to stay in. Tipinawâw provided a 24/7 space at the Edmonton Convention Centre for people experiencing homelessness to access day and night services as safely as possible. Boyle Street Community Services led Tipinawâw’s medical response to COVID-19, providing PPE, showers, wound care, and harm reduction services on-site. They developed a contact tracing system and helped clients access COVID-19 tests and isolation spaces. As COVID-19 cases rose across the province, measures at Tipinawâw helped slow the spread of COVID-19. We invite you into Tipinawâw.


Episode Four – Breaking the Cycle

Tipinawâw provided people experiencing homelessness with a warm, safe place to go over the fall and winter months. The 24/7 emergency accommodation space at the Edmonton Convention Centre did so much more than that; it also brought housing services to where people were at in their journey out of homelessness. Ultimately the solution to homelessness, is housing. We invite you into Tipinawâw.


Tipinawâw: Episode Five – Tomorrow

Through collaboration and caring, Tipinawâw provided vulnerable Edmontonians a warm, safe space to go this past winter, and directly connected them to housing options. In the final video of this series, we explore how the City and partner agencies came together quickly to help people experiencing homelessness during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. What were the lessons learned? What will it take to end homelessness in Edmonton? Ultimately, the solution to homelessness is housing, and we are all stronger as a community when we are not leaving anyone behind. We invite you into Tipinawâw one final time.


Videos made in partnership with Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, Bissell Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, The Mustard Seed, the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Convention Centre and Homeward Trust. Video production: PlanIT Sound