The Mustard Seed Central
The Mustard Seed Central meets the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness and poverty in downtown Edmonton by providing those staying at the centre with a safe place to sleep, meals, hot showers, and wrap-around supports with a special focus on the provision of nurse-led health services to those that require it.
This 24/7, dry facility will focus on helping with system navigation and housing case management to transition guests out of homelessness and into stable long-term housing.
The Mustard Seed Central FAQs
Where is The Mustard Seed Central & Medical Respite, and why was this location chosen?
In March 2023, the Government of Alberta provided a grant to The Mustard Seed to operate, in partnership with Radius Community Health & Healing, a unique type of centre out of the previous Operation Friendship Seniors Society building (9526 106 Ave). The building is provincially owned and is leased to The Mustard Seed. Since March, The Mustard Seed and Radius have been assessing what was needed for renovations in order to provide a multi-purpose, dignified space to operate wrap-around supports with a heavy focus on nursing supports. The space was ideal as minimal renovations were required, as the space was designed and already operating for a similar purpose.
As of October 2023, there are over 3,000 Edmontonians experiencing homelessness, with many individuals located in the downtown core. With winter quickly approaching, there is a critical need for space so that our city's most vulnerable have a safe, warm place to sleep and receive vital supports.
How is this site different than others operating in the area?
This site has a holistic health service focus, to promote stabilization and healing for individuals who lack the support they need to progress to more positive outcomes. This site also does not offer drop-in services, other than a walk-in nurse-led wound care and follow up. The capacity of the site is also smaller than shelters in the area. The differences mean that there will not be long line ups around the site.
What kind of medical services will you provide?
The Respite to Recovery Program, provided by Radius Community Health & Healing, consists of nurse-led health and social supports for individuals experiencing homelessness with medical needs that require community-level care. This is for individuals who are not ill enough to be admitted to hospital but are too sick to be in a regular shelter or out on the street. A Social Worker will also be part of the team to connect individuals to a variety of supports, such as housing, income support, job search and addiction recovery-oriented services. Services may include wound care, medication management, care for pneumonia, etc.
What is the goal of the health services being provided at the site?
Often, individuals experiencing homelessness end up hospitalized with more mild illnesses than the general population because they have nowhere else to go. Sometimes, minor illnesses worsen because individuals experiencing homelessness don’t have access to basic health supports in the early stages. The goals of the health services being provided at the site are to stabilize and support early healing to reduce the use of emergency rooms, reduce the length of hospital stays and promote health so individuals can focus on meeting their other basic needs. Through the connection to nursing care at the site, individuals will also have access to primary care through Radius, which will support their ongoing health needs even after they no longer require Respite to Recovery services.
Is this site open year-round?
Yes, this centre will remain open year-round. Guests will have access to a full spectrum of supports and services that aim to address their physical, mental, and spiritual needs and help them grow toward greater health and independence.
What does a dry facility mean?
A dry facility is a space where people cannot use drugs or alcohol on site and cannot bring it into the space.
Will individuals who are intoxicated be allowed to access services or stay overnight?
Admission to the site will be based on individuals’ behavior and assessment of the safety of all. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not criteria for non-admittance in itself.
What safety measures does The Mustard Seed have in place?
The Mustard Seed’s number one priority in operating programming is safety. Our programming creates a safe and supportive space for all program members – guests, staff, volunteers, and the greater community. Policies and procedures we have in place for safety and security include:
- Guests will be checked prior to entry
- Staff, including security, will be present on-site to monitor indoor and outdoor spaces 24/7
- Police and EMS have been notified of our proposal to open the centre
- Security cameras are located both inside and outside the building
Is The Mustard Seed Central a drop-in space?
This site does not offer drop-in services, other than walk-in nurse-led wound care and follow up.
How many people does the site hold?
We are currently able to offer 40 beds on the main floor for guests 55 years and older, with Radius Health on-site for medical supports to those who require this service.
If rezoning is approved, there will be 60 beds on the main floor – 30 reserved for those requiring medical supports and who have mobility issues.
The second floor will have 32 beds for both men and women, and the third floor will be a women-only space with 32 beds.
Who can I contact if I have questions about The Mustard Seed Central?
At this time, all questions or concerns should be directed to Linda Kempers, The Mustard Seed Central Manager, at [email protected]
Is there a City Council meeting about the proposed rezoning?
Yes, on November 6 at 9:30 a.m. You can learn more about the meeting here