2023 Winter Newsletter

You’ve had a big impact on Edmontonians living homelessness

This past year brought many challenges to those who experience homeless or precarious housing. Not only is the pandemic still with us, but many people have also struggled with the financial pressure of rising inflation. Making ends meet has been incredibly difficult for many.

Thankfully, your generosity has lightened this burden and given hope for better days.

With your support, last year, Edmontonians continued to receive vital programs and supports including:

New Child Care

By moving locations and expanding our Child Care Centre, we can now serve more children and families in the broader community, and still offer affordable, quality care.

Emergency Response Collaborations

Working alongside the City of Edmonton and numerous agencies, we ensured the protection of those who were most at risk of the severe outcomes of the COVID-19 virus.

Housing Loss Prevention

Never have so many people been on the brink of losing their homes, so quickly. Our Community Bridge and Housing Teams prevented hundreds of people from becoming homeless and helped thousands more access much-needed financial supports.

Engagement Events

Numerous Albertans stepped up and engaged with us virtually to help people in need. Their support helped us surpass our Coldest Night of the Year and Drop Your Gonch fundraising goals.

Second Thrift Shop

To help ensure the stability of our programs, we opened a second Thrift Shop. All revenue from our Thrift Shops goes back into our programs that aim to help move more people out of poverty.

Employment Supports

Throughout the challenges of COVID-19, our skill-building workshops, safety certifications, individualized one-on-one employment counselling, and similar programs, were made continuously available to help people retain and gain employment.

All of these things simply would not be possible without your kindness and support. Addressing the challenges that come with poverty and homelessness really does take a village. Together, with your generosity, we are helping give hope to those who need it most.

Indigenous Cultural Support Program

Because of the support of our community, we are thrilled to be embarking on a new initiative for Edmonton’s Indigenous community – the Indigenous Cultural Support program. This program will be instrumental in building important cultural connections and fostering a sense of belonging for Indigenous individuals in the community.

The Indigenous Cultural Support Program will enrich the housing, employment, family, and mental health supports you already help make possible at Bissell, with an Indigenous-focused lens. Cultural Support Workers will incorporate Indigenous knowledge systems, traditions, and oral histories throughout the programming, as part of Bissell’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation.

Your support helps ensure a safe and culturally-sensitive space is always available to Edmonton’s Indigenous community.

Meet Hope Terrace resident, Chance

Your support is helping people like Chance, a 25-year-old resident of Hope Terrace. Before Chance moved into Hope Terrace, he was living at his grandmother’s house, along with his mom and four other family members. It was chaotic and stressful for someone who struggles with emotional regulation. Sometimes, it would get so bad, he would black out from the intensity of his emotions.

He and his mom knew he needed help. As luck would have it, a friend soon invited him to Easter dinner at Bissell, and he learned about Hope Terrace that very night. Just a few months later, Chance was offered a spot at Hope Terrace, and he was filled with hope for the future. He knew life would get better.

“The staff here help me with the things that overwhelm me the most – like budgeting, cooking, and dealing with my emotions,” says Chance. “They are awesome! They’re really good people – they’re my family.”

With the expansion of both space and programming at Hope Terrace, made possible by the support of your generosity, more people like Chance will have the opportunity to thrive while living with the challenges of FASD.

Hope Terrace receives funding for program expansion

Hope Terrace is moving to a larger building that will double its impact. The permanent supportive housing complex for individuals living with the effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) will go from serving 15 residents to 34!

The new building will feature a spacious kitchen that will act as both a social gathering space and a place to build skills and confidence. The kitchen can be an intimidating place, especially for those with FASD who often experience not just anxiety, but also food insecurity.

With the support of an occupational therapist, residents will practice skills such as meal planning, how to read a recipe, how to safely cut food, and nutrition basics. These are skills that will stay with them forever, and improve their lives in immeasurable ways, and it’s you who makes it all possible.


Join us February 25, 2023 for the Coldest Night of the Year!

Mark your calendars and bundle up! Bissell’s Coldest Night of the Year Walkathon (CNOY) is fast approaching. This year’s fundraising goal is $120,000. Funds raised will provide essential care and service for people experiencing homelessness, poverty, and hunger.

Bissell joined this national event in 2018. Since then, walkers who take part in this super-fun, family-friendly event have raised a remarkable $577,804 to support folks accessing our services. Join us in-person for a 2km or 5km walk, or get involved as a volunteer! Of course, if people aren’t comfortable in larger crowds, we’ll arrange to stream the opening ceremonies and get you your toque!

All funds raised will support our Community Space, which allows individuals to walk in out of the cold and access not just food, shelter, clothing, and hygiene facilities, but also all of the life-changing programs and supports that your generosity makes possible!

To learn more and register: https://bissellcentre.org/cnoy23

National Indigenous Peoples Day – June 21, 2022

On a sunny day in June – the longest day of the year, the summer solstice – the community came out to celebrate and recognize the history, traditions and achievements of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. This year’s National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD) was a memorable one.

After a long stretch of rain in the days prior, the clouds parted. The streets outside Bissell were filled with joyous and colourful performances, including drumming, dancing, singing, and storytelling! Bellies were stuffed with a traditional meal of stew and bannock, and the community truly came together to honour Canada’s Indigenous peoples and history.

And while there was plenty of celebration, it was also an opportunity for peaceful reflection, and acknowledgement of the generations-old mistreatment and adversity endured by Indigenous peoples. With the last Canadian residential school closing as recently as 1996, the pain and trauma is still very much a part of the Indigenous community.

Without your support, this important event would not have been possible. Marking this day shows solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, and represents one of many small, yet vital, steps towards reconciliation with our past.