In January 2022, organizations were asked to submit reports to the Government of Alberta, detailing their budget priorities for the upcoming year.

Calgary Homeless Foundation is committed to fighting homelessness in our city and our priorities reflect this goal. Our Budget 2022 Submission can be found here.

Provincial count drops 31% since 2008 in 2nd 7 cities Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness

In the second biennual province-wide Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness (Count), the number of people in Alberta staying in emergency shelters, short term supportive housing and hotels used as emergency shelters as well as correctional facilities was 5373, down 19% from the previous Count in October 2014 and 31% from 2008 when Alberta’s Plan to End Homelessness was launched.

In Calgary, the total Count was 3222, an almost 11% decrease from its peak in 2008 when Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness (Calgary’s Plan) was launched. Calgary’s Count includes data collected by over 100 volunteers on the streets conducting surveys of those they encountered. This report does not include Alberta Health Services (AHS) data and observational tallies by volunteers of those they counted as homeless but were unable to survey. The Final Report, to be released in early 2017, will include more comprehensive demographic data as well as numbers from AHS.

Year-over-year growth in homelessness stopped

Prior to 2008, when Calgary’s Plan was launched, the city was experiencing a biennial increase in homelessness of 35%. Since 2008, over 8,000 people have been housed, growth in homelessness has halted and is on a downward trend. This year’s count shows a decline in overall homelessness on a per capita basis of 26% since 2008.

“Calgary has done what no other urban city has- reversed our past trend of increasing homelessness by 35% every two years to an astounding decline of 9% this year,” says Krecsy. “Calgary’s Plan is working because of local sector leadership, continued rigor, focus and collaboration. But make no mistake, Calgary remains in harm’s way. We need greater systems integration  between Health, Alberta Health Services and Justice with the Homeless Serving System and enhanced community based supports for our cities most vulnerable (health, mental health, addictions, affordable housing).”

Calgary remains epicentre of homelessness in province

As in the 2014 Count, Calgary continues to be the epicentre of homelessness in the province. Whereas the 2014 Count showed Calgary accounting for 54% of the total Provincial Count, this year’s Count shows Calgary represents 60% of the total provincial Count of 5373. “The good news is, homelessness is down across the province,” says Diana Krecsy, President and CEO, the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “What we are doing is working. The challenge is, in spite of continued progress throughout the homeless-serving sector, Calgary continues to not have enough appropriate housing for its vulnerable citizens.”

Calgary’s position as the epicentre is attributable to socio-economic factors unique to Calgary, primarily, one of Canada’s highest unemployment rates for a major urban centre (10.2%) and continued high cost of rental housing despite increased vacancy rates, particularly for those with lower incomes. “Calgary does a great job of serving people experiencing homelessness and with providing a strong network of services and supports to move people quickly into appropriate housing at the right time,” says Krecsy. “But it’s not enough for the number of people who continue to need our support because of economic factors over which they have no control.”

Second province-wide Count shows strength of coordinated approach to ending homelessness.

The province-wide Count dropped by 19.2% from 2014 to 2016. Since 2008 this represents a 31% decrease in homelessness across the province and a decrease of approximately 11% in Calgary since Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness was launched in 2008.

The Count was coordinated by the 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The 7 Cities represent the lead organizations responsible for the implementation of local Plans to End Homelessness within each city. They coordinate at a systems level and align funding resources for greater impact and progress towards a shared vision of ending homelessness in Alberta.

In the first province-wide Count, 7 Cities members conducted their individual Counts over a week long period. This year’s Count was held on the same evening, October 19th, between 7pm to midnight in all 7 Cities with some cities counting on the morning of October 20th as necessary.

The Count serves two important functions: it provides a current snapshot of the demographics and number of people experiencing homelessness in the province as well as individual cities, and provides a snapshot of changes in homelessness over time. By aligning methods across Alberta, the 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness can examine trends using similar definitions. Ultimately, this helps to inform solutions, policies and best practices to support the goal of ending homelessness in Alberta.

A Snapshot of Calgary’s Count

A total of 3,222 people were enumerated on the night of the count. Preliminary results show:

  • Unsheltered 5%
  • Emergency Sheltered 45%
  • Justice System 6%
  • Interim Housing & Other (ie. hotels/motels used as emergency shelter/short-term housing) 44%
  • 75% male; 25% female
  • Indigenous 20%; Non-indigenous 80%
  • 45 years of age and over 44%
  • 25-44 years of age 36%
  • 24 years of age and under 20%

In addition to the numbers reported in this document, Calgary counts individuals encountered outside who are not able to give consent to volunteers to complete surveys as part of the Count. This requires volunteer teams to use their discretion as to who is, or is not, homeless. We also collect data from emergency and inpatient services at Calgary facilities. These numbers were not complete at time of this preliminary report and will be included in a forthcoming final report in early 2017.

The Provincial Preliminary Report can be viewed HERE.

All 7 Cities Reports can be viewed HERE.

Calgary’s report can be viewed HERE.

Last week we met with the CHF, Client Action Committee to draft a response letter outlining recommendations for the National Housing Strategy.

Please take a few moments to read what this talented group of individuals submitted, and make your voice heard too!

You have until Friday, October 21st to participate in either an online survey or draft a submission to We encourage you to send an e-mail to your MP, or a tweet using #housing4all and #LetsTalkHousing, along with a copy of CHF’s response, expressing your support for CHF’s recommendations.

Thank you to United Way and Maytree for sharing the Let’s Talk Housing Community Conversations guide that helped our discussion!

Our Position on the National Housing Strategy


The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) supports a National Housing Strategy and is grateful for the opportunity to provide input. We strongly believe that for the Strategy to be an effective tool to further the vision of ending homelessness, it needs to provide specific measures to address the specialized needs for housing with supports for vulnerable and homeless citizens, including Indigenous peoples.

The development of a National Housing Strategy will have a positive and lasting impact on our collective vision of ending homelessness in Calgary. As a community, Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness: People First in Housing First, identifies the need to address the current gap for 15,600 Calgarian households in extreme core housing need. We are pleased the government is taking action. We encourage our community partners to join the conversation share this with your social networks and participate in the survey and/or submit a written response by October 21, 2016. For more information please see our six recommendations for inclusion into the National Housing Strategy and our Key Supporting Statistics.

A highlight of our recommendations are listed below:

CHF supports a National Housing Strategy that will deliver safe, suitable and secure housing to every Canadian.

  • All Canadians deserve a decent place to live.
  • Canada is significantly behind in comparison to other OECD countries in providing social housing.
  • The National Housing Strategy (Strategy) should protect, preserve and improve existing low-income/social housing stock and build capacity in the non-profit housing sector to deepen financial sustainability, asset management and renewal.
  • Provide tax incentives for the creation of new rental stock.
  • The Strategy needs to guarantee access to affordable housing appropriate for low income, vulnerable populations and Indigenous Peoples, especially in major urban centres where evidence shows greater prevalence of homelessness.

A National Housing Strategy must specifically address the specialized needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness and strengthen the vision of ending homelessness in Canada.

  • The Strategy must link housing for Canadians exiting homelessness with the adequate and appropriate supports required for this population to remain stably housed and integrated into community.
  • Studies show that there are significant cost savings associated with the provision of housing with supports for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Funding for programs that provide housing first supports specific to Canadians experiencing homelessness, should be increased to provide real and possible advancement towards ending homelessness.
  • The Strategy must safeguard the economic, social and cultural rights of vulnerable populations, including Indigenous Peoples.
  • The Strategy needs to address the gap for the over 1.5 million Canadian households in core housing need.
    • There are approximately 15,600 households in Calgary in extreme core housing need.

Public Social Expenditure must increase to ensure cycles of poverty and homelessness are not repeated, especially for vulnerable Canadians.

  • Greater public social expenditure on anti-poverty initiatives, including housing and income assistance can strengthen Canada’s social welfare system and help prevent and reduce homelessness.

Please take 10 minutes to fill out the survey, share this with your social networks and encourage everyone to include their voice in the conversation.  The online survey is open to the public until October 21, 2016. More details can be found HERE.

To view our six recommendations for inclusion into the National Housing Policy, click here to download our brief.

Click here to read a blog post written by Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Director of Research and Data, Nick Falvo, on ten things to know about Canada and our National Housing Strategy.

A Call for Feedback

To identify gaps in affordability and accessibility of housing in the province, the Government of Alberta is asking Albertans to provide feedback that will assist in the development of a Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy.

Every Albertan is encouraged to respond to the survey. Your input will help inform the development of the Strategy and will make a difference.

The survey provides the opportunity to respond as individuals and as organizations. We encourage everyone to respond, and to ensure you submit an organizational response too.

At the back of the survey are three non-multiple choice questions pertaining to what you/your organization see as the issues related to affordable housing, what’s working well in the affordable housing system and what you could change. CHF has answered these questions through the lens of our role as System Planner for the homeless-serving sector. Our responses include:

Issues specific to homeless serving sector

  • Lack of access to affordable housing impedes progress on addressing the specialized needs of Calgary’s most vulnerable who need permanent housing with supports.
  • Lack of matching program dollars to capital dollars creates uncertainty in ability to provide long-term, sustained supports that result in housing retention.
  • Gaps in rental costs and income support puts increased pressure on not-for-profits and clients.

Working well

  • The focus on the need for housing strategies on the municipal, provincial and federal level.
  • Recent funding announcements by the provincial and federal governments to address the gaps in affordable housing.
  • Government endorsement of plans to end homelessness and address poverty, as well as the implementation of integrative social policies to better serve vulnerable Albertans.


  • Address adequate and appropriate supply of permanent housing with supports for specialized and vulnerable populations served by the homeless sector.
  • Increase income assistance to assist those exiting homelessness and to support the 15,600 Calgarian households at risk of homelessness and in extreme core housing need.
  • Address client choice through housing allowance rather than unit subsidies.
  • Allow non-market housing providers to set realistic rents to fund capital reserves to maintain properties independent of government funding; this allows providers to create value and potential leverage from their stock.
  • Develop meaningful incentive programs to encourage private sector development of new rental stock.
  • Make land available for housing projects for specialized populations and transfer ownership of government assets to qualified not-for-profit housing providers so that assets may be leveraged and managed more effectively and efficiently to enhance the sector’s ability to meet current and future demand.

We are pleased that the provincial government has taken this opportunity to engage Albertans in this important conversation. Please take 10 minutes to fill out the survey, share this with your social networks and encourage everyone to include their voice in the conversation.  The survey can be found HERE.  The online survey is open to the public until July 3, 2016.

Together, we will end homelessness in Calgary.


Minister of Housing and Seniors, Lori Sigurdson provides an overview of the Strategy and the engagement process.


It’s always good when Members of Parliament invest their time and energy to learn first-hand what Calgary is doing to end homelessness. On Saturday, July 12th, Tom Mulcair, Leader of Canada’s New Democrats and the Official Opposition, took a tour of three housing first locations owned by the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

Karen Crowther, Executive Director of Keys to Recovery, provided Mr. Mulcair an overview of the work her agency does to end homelessness for individuals leaving addictions treatment who, without Keys, would be released from a recovery program back to homelessness. “It’s hard to maintain your hard-won sobriety in a shelter environment,” said Ms Crowther. “There are so many opportunities to slip, which is why it’s so important we provide housing and supports.”

Karen shared their findings of the impact of housing on 9 of their clients after one year of being housed. Keys determined that based on the decrease in hospital stays, shelter costs, EMS, Fire and police interactions as well as incarcerations and ER visits, $810,445 in savings were realized. Without housing and Keys interventions, the nine individuals studied accounted for $1,023,618 in systems useage costs versus $213,173 after one year of housing.

Kelly, a long term resident with Keys, shared his story of addiction which began at the age of 9 and ended when he finally got housing with Keys 2 years ago.

From the Keys managed apartment building in Cliff Bungalow, Mr. Mulcair and his aide, George Smith, toured two Alpha House locations, The Madison, a 15 unit apartment building for Veterans with lived experience of homelessness, and Sunalta, a 33 unit single room occupancy low-barrier apartment building for singles. When asked what Mr. Mulcair can do to support the work over ending homelessness, Kathy Christiansen, Executive Director of Alpha House was quick to reply, “I have two words. Affordable Housing. We need a national strategy because without the housing, we can’t move people out of homelessness. It is critical.”

Mr. Mulcair promised to take the message back to Ottawa, not just about the need for Affordable Housing but also around the amazing work CHF and its agency partners are doing to end homelessness here in Calgary. With six years of experience, data and research, we are leaders in Canada.


On Thursday, October 31, Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino visited with Alpha House staff, CHF staff and residents of The Madison, a 16 unit apartment building in Calgary which the Calgary Homeless Foundation purchased in November 2011 using provincial grants, support from a donor and a $734,000 mortgage of which $554,000 remains.

The 15 residents of the Madison are formerly homeless veterans who are provided housing and support through program operators, Alpha House Society. The program funding is provided from a two year national pilot project funded federally by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta. The pilot project ends in March, 2014.

In addition to the Madison pilot project, an additional 38 formerly homeless veterans are supported through Housing First initiatives throughout the city.

Ending homelessness amongst veterans is possible. As one of the residents described it, being provided housing with supports gives him ‘a second chance’. We continue to work with the Federal and Provincial governments and our agency partners to ensure every homeless veteran has a chance at a second chance.

Thank you Minister Fantino for taking the time to visit. Thank you Peter for opening your home to the Minister.

To view all the photos please visit our Facebook Page — and don’t forget to LIKE it!  Thanks!

To learn more about the Madison and the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness as well as our progress towards ending homelessness in Calgary, please see our Annual Report.