One of Edmonton’s biggest homeless shelters will be torn down as soon as next year — and then rebuilt on the same site.

The redevelopment of the Hope Mission’s Herb Jamieson Centre has been given the green light to proceed, despite opposition from area residents and business owners who criticized the proposal at the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board on Wednesday.

“It’s an old, tired building,” said Bruce Reith, executive director of the Hope Mission. “We want to get a brand new building on the existing footprint … that’s safe for everyone that’s staying there. It’s just a nicer, safer building.”

Homeless men living on a city-owned brownfield slated for development have been told to pack up their belongings and leave the property.

Coun. Jason Farr said the men would be told to leave Wednesday before the city uses an excavator to clear out the debris-strewn camp in the Barton-Tiffany corridor.

That’s sooner than Michael Fanning thought.

“We have to be out by the weekend,” he told The Spectator during a visit to the site.

The last time I talked to Luke Harrison, CEO of the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency, he told me about a new affordable rental complex being built in Vancouver’s East Fraserlands.

Contests, events & more from Tyee and select partners

The new building, which will charge rents set at less than 30 per cent of tenants’ incomes, owes its existence to an innovative partnership of a not-for-profit agency, a co-op and government.

It sounded great, but the building will only have about 110 rental units. How do we ramp this up? Where will the capital funding come from?

And is there a role for private equity and even landowners in developing innovative affordable rental housing?

Hope Mission won the right Wednesday to tear down and rebuild the 50-year-old Herb Jamieson Centre, despite community concerns the concentration of homeless services is damaging the neighbourhood.

A decision from the city’s arm’s-length subdivision and development appeal board gives the not-for-profit agency the right to rebuild a structure with cots for 400 men at the 100 Street and 105A Avenue site.

But officials still need to raise $5.5 million more in private donations, plus convince government officials a matching $8-million investment is worthwhile.

“We really need housing for people, not mats,” said McCauley Community League president Phil O’Hara, promising to lobby against any funding that would keep Edmonton’s shelters and homeless facilities concentrated in his neighbourhood.

A $15-an-hour minimum wage, new rules to help unions organize, across-the-board increases in vacation and emergency-leave time and scheduling rules to prevent employers from suddenly cancelling shifts at the last minute are all getting strong support from churches and faith-based intervenors at cross-Ontario hearings into labour law reform.

In Bill 148, the Ontario government has taken two years of study into the changing landscape of work and decided on major revisions to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act in favour of a better deal for low-wage, part-time and contract employees.

“The current standards, they really do undermine the value and dignity of workers,” said Sr. Sue Wilson, who runs the Office of Systemic Justice for the Canadian Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Last week she submitted a brief to the committee holding public hearings on the bill, endorsing a gradual raise in the minimum wage to $15 per hour by January of 2019. After 12 days and 10 cities, the hearings wrapped up July 21.

The City of Vancouver has released a 10-year housing target that shifts its housing strategy towards renters, low to moderate-income earners, and families.

On Tuesday, the city announced a plan to add 72,000 new housing units over the next decade with an eye not just towards boosting rental supply but ensuring that supply is the “right supply” affordable for residents.

“One of the really big moves of the housing strategy here is to turn the spigot on for rental housing,” said Gil Kelley, the city’s planning general manager — a recognition from planners and politicians that for many in Vancouver renting is the only affordable option to stay in the city.

Demand for Calgary’s new $5.05 monthly transit pass has exceeded expectations, with nearly 40,000 of the steeply discounted passes sold to Calgarians living in extreme poverty during the program’s first three months.

Advocates say while it’s encouraging that low-income earners can now get to appointments, job interviews, classes and the grocery store for just five dollars and five cents a month, the demand demonstrates just how much work remains to lift Calgarians out of poverty.

“(The numbers) speak to a much bigger problem out there . . . a lot of Calgarians aren’t doing well,” said Colleen Huston, a co-ordinator with Disability Action Hall.