© Edmonton Journal

Tackling homelessness this year is going to take more than opening your wallet. It’s going to take opening your heart. This is the year Edmonton shifts to a more active role in locating and building supportive housing for the hardest to house. City officials are analyzing maps to select the first four sites — all outside the traditional inner-city locations — and readying a major information campaign to convince residents to support this in their neighbourhoods.

Down in Calgary in 2011, nine not-for-profit housing organizations along with development and business leaders came together with the goal of raising $120 million to match government funds and get new units built across Calgary. They even shared donor lists (considered highly-confidential trade secrets in the charity world) and launched the public campaign. It framed homelessness as an issue for everyone to tackle and, despite the 2013 floods and the economic downturn, they raised $74 million. They had more than 1,700 individual donors — including $27 million from the homebuilding industry — and supported 21 different housing projects.