We are asking individuals to donate just 10% of their holiday budget, volunteer for 10 hours over the winter and do one of our 10 Boyle Street Holiday Activities.

For just 10%, 10 Hours and 10 Activities your family can help create meaningful change in the lives of people living in poverty. #TakeThePledge and commit to supporting people in Edmonton experiencing homelessness.

Boyle Street Holiday Ambassador Activities:

For more information:

Brent Guidinger

Access to Financial Services

By: Marg Archibald, Four Directions Financial Manager

Access to basic financial services – like a bank account or the ability to cash cheques – is something most of us take for granted. But many individuals don’t have easy and affordable access to these essential services.

In order to alleviate these challenges, Boyle Street Community Services has formed a partnership with ATB Financial to create a bank for the unbanked and the under-banked. We offer low-barrier financial services that allow our clients to access an unlimited transaction chequing account for just $9.95 a month.

Why does this matter?

Lack of financial services for inner-city communities mean that many low-income earners are forced to resort to cheque cashing companies that charge exorbitant fees just to access their money. These toxic relationships exploit an already marginalized population.

Lack of access to financial services also means that community members are forced to access all of their funds at once, increasing the danger of clients losing or having their money stolen.

Other clients are burdened by the (often physical) perils of relying on street lenders where failure to repay a debt can result in consequences much worse than a poor credit rating.

The path from poverty to economic self-reliance can be a lengthy struggle, but with the support of staff at Four Directions Financial clients are making lasting and meaningful changes in their financial situations.

The path begins with a basic first step – getting a bank account – through this comes learning how to save and invest, build credit, to pay off loans, and finally, owning assets. The road to true financial security is long but with the support of Four Directions Financial, it is now more than just a dream for those that are the most vulnerable in our community.

Hidden Talent at Boyle Street

By: Kaylee Cheladyn

Terry Prince has worked as a janitor throughout Edmonton in non-profit organizations for 14 years, with the last 5 of them spent here at Boyle Street Community Services. In addition to being a diligent employee, Terry is a self-taught artist who has painted multiple murals throughout the Boyle Street building and the neighbouring social enterprise Four Directions bank.


Terry has created art since he was an adolescent. As a teenager living in British Columbia, he would spend his summers sketching and drawing and selling his art to tourists at the beach. With no formal training — other than the occasional art class in high school — Terry taught himself how to paint by reading about artistic techniques and studying animal anatomy. “I spent a lot of time in the library,” he says, “I wanted to understand muscle tone and bone structure… I figured, ‘I can’t paint [animals] until I know what’s underneath it all’.”

Terry completed his first full-scale mural while working as a janitor for Operation Friendship in the mid-1990s. Gradually, he began contributing to the walls at Boyle Street, after his artistic talent was discovered by another staff member during a painting activity a few years ago.

Painting is purely a passion for Terry; “I quit for a few years,” he said, after he kept getting requests from friends and family members who wanted to commission his artwork, “I wasn’t looking to make money.”

Terry says that it takes him a few weeks on average to complete a large-scale mural. His latest piece, a mural featured in the Family and Youth Unit in the Boyle Street basement, illustrates his interpretation of an Indigenous folklore tale: a turtle swimming through the universe with the world on his back.


When asked about the origin story, Terry said that “[Indigenous peoples] knew the universe existed before the discovery of space… long before we decided that the Earth was round.” This legend has been passed down for generations in his family, “I first heard the legend from my grandfather, who probably heard it from his father, who heard it from his father.”

He spoke about the important role that art and creativity play in the lives of the community members at Boyle Street. “It takes their mind off what’s really inflicting them… gives them time to rest, time to clear their mind,” says Terry. He feels like his own art helps him do the same.

Terry’s right — studies have shown that art therapy is proven to serve as a coping strategy for those who have experienced trauma; people experience satisfaction at seeing their own visual representations of emotions, challenges, and strengths. Art can even be considered a kind of harm reduction, encouraging community members to find a healthy and creative outlet for their energy.

For his next mural, Terry looks forward to challenging himself with something new. “The hardest things to paint are waterfalls and fire,” he says, “they each have movement and many different colours.” His favourite scenes to paint are of nature; many of Terry’s pieces are inspired by the mountainous landscapes of British Columbia, as Terry says “they remind [him] of home.”

Street Ways

“Helpful tips for accessing resources (getting stuff).”

That is the goal of the newest inner-city community booklet called Street Ways, a joint project between 8 agencies (including Boyle Street Community Services), designed to help homeless individuals navigate Edmonton’s vast network of agencies, programs, and services while providing tips for living on the streets.

Street Ways is a unique approach to the dissemination of information to Edmonton’s homeless population. The booklet is written by folks that have experienced homelessness themselves with the goal of ensuring the language is clear, informative, and presented in a way that is accessible to individuals living rough.


Beyond the basics, (including a map of inner-city agencies in Edmonton) the booklet includes information on how to access specialized services, provides health information for those living rough, and provides tips for dealing with police, EMS, and other emergency services.

Hardcopy versions of the Street Ways booklets are available at Boyle Street in Streetworks.

Download a copy of Street Ways

Break Cycles. Buy Social.

A job is more than just a regular pay check.

A job means a supportive social network, an opportunity for personal growth and development, and some security in case of an emergency.

But perhaps most importantly, a job means a sense of self worth.

The community that we serve at Boyle Street Community Services face many barriers when attempting to break the cycle of homelessness.

We need to break down those barriers wherever they arise; and we need to continue to innovate and think about new ways of changing the status quo.

With that in mind, I want to introduce you to Boyle Street Ventures Inc., a social enterprise dedicated to ending cycles of poverty.

Social enterprises strive to address social problems through the sale of goods and/or services. They identify societal conditions that have caused marginalization to certain groups of people and make it their mission to challenge these market failures through innovative means of business.*

At Boyle Street, our focus is businesses where we can provide a high quality of service at competitive prices, all the while providing transformative employment opportunities for those who want to work but have too many barriers put in their way.

We partner our employees with a mentor, who also functions as a crew leader. They provide on-the-job support and training in many areas, including customer service, safe work practices and team work, to name a few. We equip our employees with training through our employment readiness program in courses as diverse as the customer service certificate, construction tickets, food handling course, etc.

And we pay a living wage, a key factor in escaping the cycle of poverty. The following two links provide more information on the significance of living wages.

End Poverty Edmonton makes livable income a priority

Edmonton Social Planning Council’s 2017 Living Wage Update

In short, we use our businesses to build the skills and confidence of our community members – and provide them a wage that supports a new standard of living.

Our businesses include:

o Commercial and residential moving
o Commercial and residential cleaning
o Junk removal
o Basic property maintenance – lawn care, litter and needle pick up, etc
o A food truck – you will see us around, or you can book us for a private function

Click here to listen to a recent CBC interview on one of our businesses, Downtown Proud!

The great thing about all of our businesses is that they are services you or your company spends money on already. By utilizing our services and “Buying Social,” you can participate in transforming the lives of many people without adding to your budget.

Please consider working with us. Send us your ideas and ask us for a quote at 780-909-2757 or jreiniger@boylestreet.org.
Let’s work together to break cycles of poverty and marginalization in our community.

1 Roger L. Martin and Sally Osberg, “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition,”
Stanford Social Innovation Review. Spring 2007.