The following blog post is a condensed version of Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy Submission. You can read the full submission HERE.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) submitted recommendations for the redesign of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) on Thursday, August 24, 2017.  Through the HPS, the Government of Canada provides support and funding to communities to develop local solutions to homelessness. We applaud the Government of Canada’s Budget 2017 announcement that it would expand and extend funding for the HPS beyond 2018-2019. The Government has tasked an Advisory Committee on Homelessness to provide recommendations for a redesign of an expanded HPS.  A brief summary of our survey response and submission to the Committee is below.

  1. We believe that an expanded HPS should:
  • Make federal and provincial homelessness funding co-ordinated, consistent and transparent;
  • Align HPS fund administration structures to the development/ organizational life stage of a community; and
  • Increase resources, including staffing, for the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System.
  1. CHF data supports the efficacy of the housing first approach to stably house people experiencing homelessness and reduce public systems usage, when properly resourced and implemented.
  2. CHF believes that one way to prevent homelessness is to reduce poverty, and we look forward to recommendations that will soon be made by the advisory committee for a national poverty strategy. We have submitted recommendations of our own as part that process which can be found here.
  3. A number of promising practices at a systems level have had a significant impact on improving housing stability for people experiencing homelessness in Calgary. These include:
  • Coordinating Access and Assessment
  • Providing Training and Accreditation
  • Participation in the Recovery Task Force
  • Membership in Collectives with Aligned Missions
  • Empowering the Client Action Committee

Looking for ways to share your opinions and find out more information?

The Government of Canada’s Advisory Committee on Homelessness is inviting you to join the conversation and participate in online consultation until August 31st.  Find more details here.

Feel free to share our response via e-mail or social media to your local MP and the Advisory Committee on Homelessness.

The third Connectivity Breakfast Community Action: Target 2018 was held on October 10th, 2016 at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. In total, 37 organizations within the homeless-serving sector and associated sectors were represented by 63 Executive Directors, Board Chairs and designates. While the topic of conversation is different at each breakfast, the goal always remains the same: bringing organizations within the homeless-serving sector together with public systems providers and other providers of services to the sector to continue to further integration across the homeless-serving system of care and strengthen collaboration and our collective impact towards ending homelessness in Calgary.

(Debbie Newman, Executive Director of the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre, gives an update on the Calgary Recovery Services Task Force)

This breakfast highlighted the work of the Calgary Recovery Services Task Force, a collective of 26 Calgary agencies and government partners measuring and addressing the need for vulnerable populations. The main focus was to provide a high level picture of all we’ve achieved as community since launching Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness in 2008. Kevin McNichol, VP Strategy at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, provided an overview of 10 things we, as a community, can accomplish by the end of 2018. Of those 10 things, participants were asked to prioritize their top 7 and then, as a cohort at each table, determine the top 3.

The final report from this Connectivity Breakfast will be released in December 2016 and the next breakfast will be held in the fall of 2017.

blanket-group-shot

On November 24, 2016, StreetSide Developments: A Qualico company, alongside the RESOLVE Campaign, HomeSpace Society, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Alpha House, hosted the grand opening of Aurora on the Park. This 25 unit, fully accessible building was constructed specifically to support vulnerable Calgarians experiencing homelessness. Named after the Aurora glow that symbolizes the dawn of a new day, the grand opening was a celebration of the beginning of a new life and a new home for these 25 individuals. Elder Casey Eagle Speaker blessed Aurora’s opening and spoke of the dawning of new hope for these 25 Calgarians who needed it most.

casey

Each of the clients’ homes are designed for wheelchair accessibility and are completely barrier free. The common areas, a space where clients can gather for meals and to socialize, are also fully accessible. While each suite has been built for tenants to be able to cook for themselves, Meals on Wheels will also visit daily to provide tenants with healthy, well rounded meals.

The tenants of Aurora on the Park will receive full support from the Alpha House Society who will be the case manager for the building. This allows tenants to access support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Aurora on the Park is the third building to be completed in a series of purpose-built apartments that are constructed by Calgary home builders for the Calgary Homeless Foundation through the RESOLVE Campaign and with support from the Government of Alberta. “The partnership of all levels of government, Calgary Home Builders and the RESOLVE Campaign continues to make ending homelessness possible in Calgary,” says Diana Krecsy, President & CEO of CHF. “Aurora on the Park represents more than just an accessible home for 25 individuals experiencing homelessness. It represents hope and a better future for them and for all Calgarians.”

For more information on Aurora on the Park, please visit the RESOLVE Campaign website or read StreetSide Developments’ blog, Grand Opening of Aurora on the Park.

website_post_banner_sponsor_2016

This year’s Giving Tuesday has kicked off an exciting new development towards ending homelessness in Calgary. Sponsor Energy, an energy retailer that sells electricity and natural gas to socially conscious consumers in Alberta, has the means to turn an ordinary, everyday purchase of electricity and gas into a tool to change the world and they’re doing so one non for profit, one business, one Calgarian at a time.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) is now Sponsor Energy’s newest Community Partner; this partnership allows a consumer with Sponsor Energy, someone like you, to choose CHF as its recipient charity of choice when they power their home.

“The concept of harnessing a commodity that everyone needs to use daily in order to empower our communities is brilliant,” says Diana Krecsy, President & CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “We are incredibly grateful to Sponsor Energy for their partnership with us and we are looking forward to what this partnership can bring to those experiencing homelessness in our city.”

Over the next three months, CHF and Sponsor Energy are hoping to inspire 250 homes and five businesses in Calgary to make the switch, while selecting CHF as their charity of choice. For the length of the three month campaign, 100% of the profits from the energy consumption from those who have switched over, is donated to CHF. 50% of the profits post-campaign are donated each month after that for the entire duration of the consumers contract.

“It’s never too late to incorporate what matters,” says Carolyn Martin, CEO of Sponsor Energy. “You can always integrate having an impact on your world and on your community, into your life. Our newest partnerships gives our consumers the power to house those experiencing homelessness.”

You can make the switch. Turning on your lights can transform into a home for someone else. It’s as simple as reaching out and asking how. Be a part of ending homelessness in Calgary.

Click here to sign up today!

For more information, and those who are interested in donating to CHF through the Sponsor Energy partnership are encouraged to contact Ben Crews, Manager, Development at the Calgary Homeless Foundation for more information.

Ben Crews
Manager, Development
Calgary Homeless Foundation
ben@calgaryhomeless.com

 

Last night at the Calgary Residential Rental Association 13th Annual Gala Award, CHF’s Claire building in Kingsland won the Building of the Year (26 – 100 units) award. This award recognizes the upkeep and ongoing operations of the building, renovation we’ve completed, tenant services, community gardens and other special features. In accepting the award, Jacqueline van den Broek of CHF’s Housing Team recognized the tremendous partnership we have with agency partner CUPS and the community building that takes place there through the support of KAIROS. This recognition is a testament to the great integrated housing model we’ve developed here at CHF – congrats, team!

It was an amazing night for affordable housing providers in Calgary – in addition to CHF, Horizon Housing Society and Calgary Housing Company teams were also recognized in the tenant and community service categories.

As well, the Mustard Seed was recognized as an Outstanding Non-Profit in the Affordable Housing category.

Congrats to everyone involved.

Of special note, David McIlveen, a longstanding CHF Director (2005 – 2016) and the Calgary Community Land Trust Chair was the CRRA recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the housing community in Calgary.

It’s great to see the hard work, dedication and service of people and agencies in the affordable housing/homeless-serving sector recognized through such prestigious awards. 

Thank you to the CRRA for honouring these individuals, teams and organizations.

 

Written by Britany Ardelli

Have you ever felt so cold in the midst of winter your face feels frozen, like it can barely move and your legs feel like they are about to crack open? That was me at the Coldest Night of the Year Walk. This was a temporary and voluntary situation for me, but for over 3500 homeless Calgarians this can be a reoccurring feeling that they have to endure.

As I walked into EauClaire Market on Saturday, February 21st 2015 I saw people everywhere wearing matching tuques and dressed as if they were going to the ski hill.  With 400+ registered walkers to help support the Coldest Night Of the Year, I was ready to embark on a committed 5 km walk.

The walk was kicked off by the Raging Grannies singing to encourage city counsellors to vote and pass secondary suites and none other than the greatest mayor in the world, Mayor Nenshi, ensuring every volunteer and participant was thanked for our time and monetary donations.

We were then sent on our way into the cold. It’s quite ironic that it’s called The Coldest Night of the Year, because with a fresh new layer of snow, and a windy -16 degrees, it was for sure the coldest night that Calgary had seen in a few weeks.

Along the walk we had cars honking their horns in encouragement, photographers taking our pictures, and volunteers guiding our way to ensure we followed the path set out. Just over an hour later we were done and we were cold!! The thought that people stay outside all day, and even sleep in these conditions, made me so proud that I raised money and completed the walk! It was great to see the community come together to raise money and support the cause to end homelessness!

*************************

Proceeds from the Coldest Night of the Year in Calgary will benefit Feed the Hungry and Acadia Place, a 58 unit affordable housing complex owned by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and operated by CUPS. Through the support of KAIROS, the money donated to Acadia Place will be provided to pay down the mortgage on Acadia Place through the RESOLVE Campaign, a unique collaboration of nine Partner agencies raising $120 million to build affordable and supported rental housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians, .

Thank you to the Calgary organizers of Coldest Night of the Year: the Calgary Diocese and KAIROS.

 

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.