Since CHF launched, we have achieved many milestones on our path to end homelessness, but one of our most powerful and important contributions has been courage.
The courage to set a bold goal, and to gather all agencies and organizations together to collectively pursue that goal.
In 1998, the late Mr. Arthur R. Smith, an entrepreneur, politician and philanthropist, founded the Calgary Homeless Foundation to create a unified front to reduce homelessness in Calgary.
In 2007, following year-over-year increases in the homeless count in Calgary, a committee of concerned citizens (Calgary Committee to End Homelessness) joined with the Calgary Homeless Foundation, homeless-serving sector agencies and other community partners to develop a plan to end homelessness.
In 2008, Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was created by a multi-stakeholder leadership group with the Calgary Homeless Foundation appointed as the lead implementer.
In 2015, Calgary’s Plan was updated and launched at a Community Summit attended by over 400 people representing over 150 agencies and organizations.
We have achieved much.
- Homelessness Slowed
We have slowed the growth in homelessness despite an increasing population. A remarkable feat given that Calgary’s population grew by more than 217,000 people from 2009 – 2013. Over 8,000 people have been provided permanent housing with supports since 2008, reflecting a 15% decrease in homelessness in Calgary per 100,000 population since January 2008.
- New Housing Spaces
Our capacity to assist has resulted in more than 2,000 new housing spaces operated by 56 programs.
- Sustainable Impact
Positive outcomes for vulnerable Albertans with 90% of those housed achieving sustainability.
- Social and economic cost savings to city and province
An analysis of one-year of housing for 72 individuals with complex needs showed annual cost savings of approximately $2.5 million
- Commitment by the Government of Alberta
Unprecedented levels of support and leadership from our provincial partners has boosted housing opportunities. Almost $45 million in annual program funding, as well as Capital grants to create over 2,700 more affordable housing units have also been committed, with over 50% of these units already on stream.
- Commitment by the Government of Canada
The Government of Canada has prioritized investment in Housing First to address chronic and episodic homelessness over the next 5 years. This reinforces Calgary’s ongoing success and allows for predictable funding of approximately $8.3 million annually for fiscal 2017 and 2018, reverting back to $6.3 million for 2019 and beyond.
- Private Sector Collaboration
Calgary’s RESOLVE Campaign is a collaboration among nine partners, raising $120 million from the private sector to build affordable and supported housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians. A first of its kind in Canada.
Landlords provided many of the 8,000 service participants housed with a home in Calgary’s rental market.
- Coordinated System-of-Care
30 agencies and 90 programs are now sharing data on a common information system (HMIS) regarded as one of the best of its kind internationally. Agencies use common intake processes and metrics to benchmark service impact and quality to improve service participant outcomes and community impact.
- Council on Homelessness
The intention of the Council on Homelessness is to provide system level leadership towards the goals identified in Calgary’s Plan to End homelessness. For more information please visit the I Heart Home website here.
- Connectivity Breakfasts
Integrating services across the system-of-care and within large systems is critical to ending homelessness in Calgary. CHF regularly hosts Board Chair & CEO breakfasts with community partners such as the Mustard Seed, Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre and the Calgary Dream Centre. At these forums of over 60 leaders from the sector, government and other public services, we collectively explore ways to collaborate, communicate and connect our services, data and programs to ensure we can leverage our resources and expertise to the advantage of everyone we serve and the betterment of all community.
- Client Action Committee
The lived experience voice is also integral to our work and throughout the year, we collaborated with the Client Action Committee (CAC), a committee comprised of individuals with lived experience of homelessness, on several important initiatives such as the Homeless Charter of Rights and the Longest Night of the Year memorial service. To learn more, click here.
- Coordinated Access and Assessment
Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA) is a single place or process for people experiencing homelessness to access housing services. CAA is designed to meet the needs of the most vulnerable first through quickly identifying and addressing immediate needs through a standardized questionnaire and then, providing ongoing supports to address more complex needs. For more information, click here.
- Key Performance Indicators
The single overarching goal of the KPI revamp is to build a high-performing system that stably houses chronic and episodic individuals and families and is reflective of and responsive to Calgary’s unique context as well as evidence inspired best practices.
Each year, CHF hosts community consultations with service providers in the sector to discuss training needs and gaps within homeless-serving sector. The majority of training offered by CHF was developed based on feedback from the annual community consultation. In many instances, program specialists from frontline agencies provide the training to pees and other members of the community.
- Certificate Program
We partner with the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary to offer a certificate program for staff and volunteers in the homeless sector. The program covers topics relevant to serving people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Students will engage in interactive learning and dialogue with peers, experts, instructors and persons with lived experience. To read more about the Certificate, click here to view the brochure.
- Working Together
The homeless-serving community is working together in countless ways to end homelessness, including the updated Plan. Broad community and homeless-serving consultations resulted in over 800 comments and recommendations being contributed to the updated Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness: People First in Housing First, released in March 2015. Calgary’s Plan can be viewed on the I Heart Home YYC website.