Calgary’s homeless-serving sector is launching another innovative partnership that will pair participants in the Homeless-Serving System of Care with mental health supports when they need it most.  

There are currently 621 individuals, families and youth experiencing homelessness who are awaiting housing on Calgary’s triage list. Of these individuals, 78.4 per cent have identified mental health challenges or concerns. 

To support these individuals, Calgary Homeless Foundation, CUPS, and Catholic Family Service (CFS) are launching Rapid Care Counselling, a collaborative pilot that efficiently connects people in shelters and supportive housing with virtual or in-person mental health supports best suited to their needs. 

“People living without a home are not otherwise okay – invariably, something else is always at play. It can happen to anyone,” said Patricia Jones, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation. “This pilot means individuals can rapidly connect with someone who will tell them they are being seen and heard, and there are people here to help. It is the first step in connecting the health, housing, and homelessness sectors together and addressing the systemic issues contributing to someone’s experience of homelessness.” 

In May 2020, in response to increasing mental health needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, Calgary Homeless Foundation issued an RFP to gauge interest in providing mental health supports for individuals experiencing homelessness.  

After a competitive RFP process, CUPS and CFS were selected to collaboratively pilot the Rapid Care Counselling program. This pilot is designed to support participants within Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care with low-barrier mental health supports. The pilot will serve people who have previously, or are currently experiencing homelessness, including children, youth, adults, and families in emergency shelters and Calgary Homeless Foundation-funded supportive housing programs.  

“This joint project is beyond exciting and such a wonderful resource for the community. It puts first and foremost the right mental health support in front of the right people at the right time,” said Carlene Donnelly, Executive Director, CUPS. “This is such an asset for Calgary and I want to applaud the team at Calgary Homeless Foundation for bringing about such an exciting initiative at a time when it’s needed the most.” 

As an agency and programmatic partnership, this pilot is a collaboration between the CUPS Shared Care Mental Health program and the CFS Rapid Access Counselling program, combining their already proven strengths into a continuum of services that will be offered to individuals experiencing homelessness. 

“Compassionate care is timely care,” said Jessica Cope Williams, Co-CEO, Catholic Family Service. “The service is designed so those facing homelessness can access Rapid Care Counselling within three business days. The program puts the mental health care people need where they need it, when they need it, as a result of strategic collaboration between organizations. This shifts the burden of accessing the right supports from those in crisis to organizations doing the work to create seamless service access.” 

The pilot’s mobile service and assessment is designed to allow participants to connect with a qualified counsellor within three business days and provide them with a care plan to connect to supports that are required beyond the session, including longer-term mental health supports and community referrals. Starting February 15, service providers will be able to book individuals for a virtual counselling session or an in-person session in several designated locations.  

Entry into the program begins with a session with a CFS team member. The first appointment will be a goal-based and solution-focused counselling session followed by integrated care planning to determine what supports are required beyond the session. This may include access to future sessions, other community supports, or referral into counselling sessions with CUPS Shared Care Mental Health counsellors.  

Rapid Care Counselling is an innovative program that represents an important step forward in our collective efforts to support the health and mental wellness of Calgarians who have, or are experiencing homelessness.  

People’s experiences of homelessness affect and are affected by their mental health, and connecting the sectors of health, housing, and homelessness together is critical to supporting them. With this unique programming, service providers have a tool they can use to successfully address the systemic issues that contribute to an individual’s experience of mental health and homelessness.  

Rapid Care Counselling Media Coverage: 

For three months, I’ve served as Calgary Homeless Foundation’s new President and CEO, and I am still taking in all that our community is doing to steer the fight against homelessness.

I have learned so much about the passion of the staff, their drive to create a coordinated response to people in need of a home, and the use of data and research to adapt our approach in real time—all in partnership with community agencies, government and the private sector. 

Together, we can ensure everyone has a place to call home—a place to heal, a place to have a better life.    

I don’t believe any of us gets through life unscathed. Many of us are lucky to have family and financial resources to lift us up when we stumble. I have been fortunate to come from small-town Alberta, where everyone knew my name, and where the community had my family’s back during tough times.    

Many of those we serve have not been so lucky. By joining CHF, I have joined a team of folks who want to make sure that having each other’s back is just part of the deal—and what a healthy community should be.    

As we all continue to do what is asked of us as a community to quell the COVID-19 pandemic, we also acknowledge that the upcoming holiday season will be different. With this uncertainty, I find myself focusing on things to be grateful for—in particular, the opportunity to help others through our work.  

And speaking of gratitude, on Tuesday, December 1, our community is celebrating Giving Tuesday, a global movement for giving and volunteering that takes place each year after Black Friday.     

No doubt you will see many emails and social media posts about supporting the work being done in our community. If you feel inspired by our work, we would be grateful if you would remember us—or any other agency that inspires you. Or simply take a few moments to engage in small acts of kindness. How we give back matters less than the change we hope to see.   

Thank you for caring about our community and for your partnership as a supporter of our work.  

Take care of each other and stay well,   

Patricia    

As COVID-19 numbers rise, our monitoring of the COVID-19 situation is ongoing. We continue to follow and implement the recommendations of Alberta Health Services (AHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Federal, Provincial, and Municipal government guidelines towards taking appropriate precautions regarding our day-to-day work. We remain actively involved in working with the Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary, AHS, and the Homeless-Serving System of Care to ensure those who are experiencing homelessness are best supported through these trying times. The safety and well-being of staff, our community, and those we serve is always of utmost importance and continues to be at the forefront of our decision making as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. 

CHF continues to work in partnership through open and transparent communication with the programs we fund. In addition to our recommendations, our funded programs have also implemented their own measured precautions that best leverage their internal capacity and available resources to protect front-line staff and those we serve. 

Please see our COVID-19 Updates page to get the latest news on our response. 

Patricia Jones, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation

Growing up in small-town Alberta, it never occurred to me that people might not have a home. I was raised in a large family on a farm: we didn’t have a lot of money, but I always had a place where I felt safe and loved. This is not the reality for 80,000 Calgarians who struggle to keep their home for several reasons—including intergenerational trauma, personal circumstances, and plain bad luck.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted what we intuitively know: that housing strengthens our physical and mental health. When we are sick, we can recover in the comfort of our bed or living room. When we are anxious, home is a place of solace—a space to connect with ourselves and our families over a homecooked meal.  

It is difficult to imagine how we could weather the ups and downs of this pandemic without a home. But for many who have suffered a job loss, an illness, or another unexpected turn of events, homelessness is their reality. You or someone you know may be facing the same challenge. 

Before COVID-19 reached Calgary, nearly one in five households in our city struggled to pay for housing, spending over 30% of their income on shelter costs. We have made great strides to create a world where everyone has a home, but as our population grows, more than 100,000 households are forecast to be in housing need by 2025. Compared to other Canadian cities, Calgary falls behind when it comes to affordable housing, with an estimated 15,000 affordable units needed to reach the 2016 national average. 

On November 22, National Housing Day, we recognized how far we have come to improve access to housing. But we also reflect on the work that remains to be done to ensure housing is accessible to everyone. The day is especially significant as frigid winter temperatures threaten individuals and families without a home.  

With collective action and continued innovation, we know it is possible to create a future where no one becomes homeless in our city.  

That benefits us all. Not only is it the ethical thing to do, it makes economic sense: it costs 65 per cent less to house someone than it does to leave them without a home. We also know every $1 spent on housing people with supports saves between $1.17 to $2.84 in hospital and ER visits and interactions with the police, because people who are housed don’t need to interact with these services as frequently. In 2018-19, our province saved $105M as a result of this investment. 

Moreover, housing people with supports helps them address the factors that may have led to their experience of homelessness in the first place. This empowers them to move into the future as integral members of our community. 

Our work to connect Calgarians with a home would not be possible without the dedication of housing providers, including our housing collaborator HomeSpace Society, a charitable real estate developer that is giving individuals and families a fresh start. Together, we partner with agencies to provide supports that help residents integrate into the community and move onto a permanent home.  

We partner with government, agencies, faith-based communities, and individuals to create solutions for permanent housing. This year, we helped launch programs that swiftly moved people out of emergency shelters, and coordinated isolation spaces for individuals and families. With the unwavering dedication of many supporters and front-line workers throughout the pandemic, over 1,100 Calgarians now have a place to call home.  

But the fact remains, to end homelessness, we need homes. Our efforts cannot end here. Calgarians have always known that by working together—private, public and government—everyone can have the sanctuary they deserve. As we reach the end of the year, we hope you renew your commitment to support us in creating a world where homelessness never happens. Thank you for ensuring that everyone can put on a pot of tea in the place they call “home.” 

Calgary Herald Op-Ed submission by Patricia Jones, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation 

March 2, 2021

Housing 

Since March 2020, 543 individuals and families were successfully diverted from homelessness at an average rate of 45 per month. In addition, 1,097 individuals and families were housed at an average rate of 91 per month.  

As a result of the community’s dedicated efforts, 1,640 individuals and families in Calgary are no longer experiencing homelessness. 

Rapid Care Counselling  

In partnership with CUPS and Catholic Family Service, we have launched Rapid Care Counselling. 

 Rapid Care Counselling provides: 

  • Rapid access to responsive, impactful, and tailoredmental health supports to participants in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care  
  • Streamlined access to Catholic Family Service’s Rapid Access Counselling Program and CUPS’ Shared Care Mental Health Program 
  • Collaborative service delivery that matches the level of support to the unique needs of those accessing the services, so they can get the right help at the right time 
  • Easy access points that eliminate barriers and make connecting individuals to the program as seamless as possible 

It is one of many steps focused on mental health and recovery that is needed in our system and an excellent example of community collaboration.  

 To learn more about the Rapid Care Counselling pilot, click HERE. 


February 10, 2021

Calgary Homeless Foundation continues to be diligent in monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 situation, and we continue to follow the recommendations of Alberta Health Services (AHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Federal, Provincial, and Municipal government guidelines.

The safety and well-being of staff, our community, and those we serve is always of primary importance and at the forefront of our decision making as we continue to navigate in these uncertain times.

Moving Calgarians out of homelessness and into a home with access to appropriate support services continues to be our highest priority.

From March 2020 to January 2021:

Through community’s efforts 472 individuals/families have been successfully diverted from homelessness, and 965 individuals/families have been housed – with more individuals continuing to be housed on an ongoing basis. Of the individuals housed, 148 individuals/families have been housed directly from the Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS) program, 124 individuals/families from transitional housing, (including the Drop-In Centre’s Transitional Housing program) and 60 people from the Sunalta Housing Lodge.

We continue to thank all who are involved in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care for your hard work and dedication.


November 27, 2020

As COVID-19 numbers rise, our monitoring of the COVID-19 situation is ongoing. We continue to follow and implement the recommendations of Alberta Health Services (AHS), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Federal, Provincial, and Municipal government guidelines towards taking appropriate precautions regarding our day-to-day work.

We remain actively involved in working with the Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary, AHS, and the Homeless-Serving System of Care to ensure those who are experiencing homelessness are best supported through these trying times.

The safety and well-being of staff, our community, and those we serve is always of utmost importance and continues to be at the forefront of our decision making as we continue to navigate these uncertain times.

CHF continues to work in partnership through open and transparent communication with the programs we fund.

In addition to our recommendations, our funded programs have also implemented their own measured precautions that best leverage their internal capacity and available resources to protect front-line staff and those we serve.


October 29, 2020

Calgary Homeless Foundation, in partnership with governmentcommunity, and agencies in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, have continued to support vulnerable and homeless Calgarians in their time of need.  

While CHF remains committed to housing-focused solutions, since March 13, 2020, funding has also been allocated to support emergency solutions in our community in the following areas: 

  • Assisted Self Isolation Site; 
  • Transitional Housing Site(s); 
  • Mental health and medical supports; 
  • Homecare relief; 
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures; 
  • Shelter diversion funding; 
  • Family diversion funding, and 
  • Youth diversion funding. 

Diversion: 

Diversion means that people are directed away from emergency shelter into some form of housing.  

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Calgary (March 19, 2020),  246 individuals and families were successfully diverted  from Calgary’s homeless-serving system. 

Short Term or Transitional Supported Housing: 

The Assisted Self Isolation Site (ASIS), with the support of The Alex, has served a total of 505 individuals since it opened in April 2020. Of these, 32.9% (166) were connected to housing in the form of supported housing (102 individuals) or independent / family housing (64 individuals). 

A total of 86 individuals entered the Sunalta Housing Lodgeprogram, owned and managed by HomeSpace with supports provided by Calgary Alpha House Society, has transitioned 44.1% (38) of these individuals exiting the program to a supported housing program or independent / family housing. 

In partnership with the Calgary Drop-In Centre’s Transitional Hotel, we served a total of 154 individuals, with 50% (77) exiting the program for a supported housing program or independent / family housing. 

The Kootenay Lodge opened in Martindale as part of the Bridge Housing program. The new 10-unit building is a collaboration between Calgary Homeless Foundation, HomeSpace Society and The Mustard Seed and will result in approximately 40 Calgarians moving out of homelessness and into a home by March 2021. 

At the Kootenay Lodge, individuals receive temporary housing with on-site support services so they can move from the emergency shelter system into independent living. 

The program is intended for those facing financial barriers, or low to moderate physical or mental health challenges. During their stay, a diversion advocate will provide on-site support with system navigation, help individuals secure financial supports, look for appropriate accommodation and connect them with landlords to support their journey into independent housing. 

The James House in Hillhurst is ready to open its doors to its new residents. This 27-unit building is the eighth building to be constructed through the RESOLVE Campaign for Calgary Homeless Foundation and our housing collaborator HomeSpace, who will own and manage the property.  

McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association of Calgary and Area will provide the residents of the building with innovative on-site programming, focused on connecting the residents with natural supports, and community integration within a targeted stay of ten months.  

Residents will work with a diversion advocate to secure financial supports, find appropriate accommodation, and connect them with landlords in support of their journey to independent housing, health, financial stability and an overall improved quality of life.  

Long Term Supported Housing Program: 

Since March 13, 2020, with the support of Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, 419 individuals or families were housed to-dateThis represented 279 adults, 103 families and 37 youths, with more people being housed on a continual basis.


August 12, 2020

As Alberta continues stage 2 of its relaunch strategy, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) remains committed to coordinating with partners in community and all levels of government to move vulnerable Calgarians into appropriate housing and to provide them with the support they need for health, well-being, and stability.

Update: Housing and Health Solutions

Since March 19, as a result of our ongoing efforts with community partners, more than 235 adults, 85 families and 30 youth have been accepted into a CHF-funded Housing First program or have moved into permanent housing with supports.

Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS)

This 100-unit isolation site was made possible through our partnerships with government, AHS, HomeSpace Society, The Alex and CUPS.

Since April 6, 2020, the ASIS has provided isolation spaces to more than 300 homeless Calgarians who have experienced symptoms or been diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, over 55 people have transitioned from ASIS into long-term Housing First programs, while more than 35 have been reunited with their families or moved into independent housing.


July 9, 2020 

Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) continues to collaborate with all orders of government and community partners to implement solutions to respond to the needs of vulnerable individuals. Moving Calgarians who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness into appropriate homes with the support they need remains our top priority.  

It has been proven time and time again that no single agency, system or service can end homelessness alone. It is the coordinated response of Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care and our community partnerships that has provided the support needed to move Calgarians in need into homes through established diversion and housing programs.  

Update: Housing and Health Solutions 

Since March 19, as a result of our ongoing efforts with community partners, more than 172 adults, 65 families and 23 youth have now been moved into permanent housing with supports. 

Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS) 

This 100-unit isolation site was made possible through our partnerships with government, AHS, HomeSpace Society, The Alex and CUPS, has now provided isolation spaces to more than 263 homeless Calgarians who have experienced symptoms or been diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, 29 people have transitioned from ASIS into long-term Housing First programs.  

Sunalta Lodging House: Transitional Housing 

With the support of our partners HomeSpace Society and Calgary Alpha House Society, Sunalta has provided transitional housing for 38  people who have transitioned from ASIS and emergency shelters, with 18 of those residents now moved or preparing to move into a permanent home. 

Transitional Housing Building 

The Transitional Housing Building was launched in partnership the Calgary Drop-In Centre (the DI), to provide temporary housing for up to 80 individuals exiting ASIS or other temporary facilities, while they await a permanent home.  

To date, 64 people have moved into the Transitional Housing Building to await placement into an appropriate home; 19 now have confirmed housing and are preparing to move from the Transitional Housing Building into permanent home. 

Diversion from Homelessness to Home 

Our collaborative work with community partners has also included diversion work to address the needs of Calgarians who are at risk of, or have recently fallen into homelessness. This focus on diversion provides short term intervention activities to support and divert them from Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care and enable their return to permanent housing. The diversion work with community has resulted in an additional 215 people ending their experience of homelessness since January. 

High impact initiatives with community partners 

One-time emergency funds provided to CHF through our government partners has allowed us to collaborate with community partners on high impact initiatives to support Calgarians in need. 

 The initiatives include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Youth Shelter Diversion 
  • Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS) 
  • DOAP Team 
  • WINS Donation Centre 
  • Transitional Housing 
  • SORCe Relaunch 
  • Homecare Relief 
  • Mental Health supports 

CHF continues to coordinate with partners in community to move vulnerable Calgarians into appropriate housing and provide them with the support they need for health, well-being, and stability. 

We are grateful for the continued support of government, and the unwavering commitment of our community partners to continue to support those we serve. 

Together, we will end homelessness in Calgary. 


June 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on our city’s urgent need for housing. It has become clear to Calgarians that providing housing for those who need it is not only life-changing – it’s lifesaving.

Collaborations between Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), all orders of government, and community partners has removed barriers to testing, bolstered homeless-serving sector staffing and resources, and alleviated the strain on Calgary’s shelter system through diversion and housing programs. These community partnerships also resulted in the coordination of Calgary’s Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS); a local facility set up to provide a medical response and a safe place for those experiencing homelessness to self-isolate. In addition, two transitional housing buildings have been established to transfer individuals experiencing homelessness into a safe space temporarily while they await permanent housing that is suitable for their needs.

CHF continues to coordinate with partners in community to move vulnerable Calgarians into appropriate housing and provide them with the support they need for health, well-being, and stability.

Since March 19, 2020, as a result of our ongoing efforts with community partners, more than 128 adults, 50 families and 19 youth have been moved into permanent housing with supports.

Housing and Health Solutions

Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS)

CHF continues to support the health and safety of our community as the coordinator for Calgary’s Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS). This site is a 100-unit building that has provided isolation spaces to more than 229 homeless Calgarians who have experienced symptoms or been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The site was opened with our housing partner HomeSpace Society, with on-site resources and medical supports provided by The Alex and CUPS.

 Individuals who require access to ASIS continue to be pre-screened and triaged through emergency departments at medical facilities and by medical personnel at emergency shelters, in accordance with Alberta Health guidelines.

Sunalta Lodging House: Transitional Housing

The 30-unit Sunalta Lodging House was opened with our partners HomeSpace Society and Calgary Alpha House Society to provide transitional housing with supports for individuals who are medically cleared from the ASIS. Sunalta Lodging House prevents homelessness by providing safe, temporary homes to individuals who are awaiting suitable housing in community.

Since Sunalta Lodging House opened its doors, 28 people have transitioned from ASIS and emergency shelters into the building, with 5 of those residents now placed into a permanent home. Additional housing placements are ongoing.

Transitional Housing Building

The need for affordable housing in our city is clearly an issue of public health. In response to this need, the Calgary Drop-In Centre (the DI) and CHF partnered to launch a new transitional housing building to provide spaces for up to 80 individuals exiting ASIS or other temporary facilities so they are not forced to return back into homelessness. These individuals will be temporarily housed while they await a permanent home.

To date, 64 people have moved into the Transitional Housing Building to await placement into an appropriate home; 4 have confirmed housing and are preparing to move from the Transitional Housing Building into permanent home.


May 19, 2020

Now, more than ever, housing is vital for health and well-being. Moving Calgarians experiencing homelessness into appropriate housing continues to be a top priority for CHF and Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care. Since March 19, 2020, as a result of our ongoing efforts with community partners, more than 74 Adults, 33 families and 9 youth have been moved into permanent housing with supports – with more being housed on an ongoing basis.

This clearly demonstrates that the availability of appropriate housing in our city is crucial to continuing to provide homes for those in need.

In addition to providing Calgarians with housing and access to support, rapid emergency responses are essential to protect those who are experiencing homelessness from the spread of COVID-19. CHF continues to support the health and safety of our community as the coordinator for Calgary’s Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS). This site has provided isolation spaces to more than 230 Calgarians without a home who are experiencing symptoms or diagnosed with COVID-19.

The ASIS itself consists of 100 units designed to support the isolation needs of vulnerable Calgarians, and to-date has not reached capacity. Individuals requiring access to the ASIS are pre-screened and triaged through emergency departments at medical facilities, and by medical personnel at emergency shelters, as per Alberta Health guidelines.

The safety of our community and those we serve is always at the forefront of our efforts. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, we are committed to working with agencies within Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care to support and care for those we serve


April 27, 2020

Calgary Homeless Foundation has been made aware that individuals within the Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre (DI) have been positively diagnosed with COVID-19, and we are concerned for their wellbeing and for those who continue to support them. We have confidence that Alberta Health Services and the DI have provided these individuals with appropriate supports for self-isolation and recovery and will continue to assess and implement appropriate and measured precautions against the possible transmission of COVID-19.

The safety of our community is a priority for us all, including the DI, who have been following the guidance of public health officials. All agencies within Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care are committed to continuing to work together to ensure that all measures are taken to reduce the risk of the community spread of COVID-19.


April 06, 2020

Calgary Homeless Foundation remains committed to supporting Calgarians who are experiencing homelessness. During this unprecedented time, we continue to work closely with all orders of government, public health officials, and our community partners in creating solutions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our community, and we offer our deepest gratitude to Minister Sawhney for her immense dedication and responsiveness through this crisis.

The many groups and organizations working hard to quickly implement the safest and most appropriate solutions have been working diligently to develop a two-fold approach to addressing the needs of people who are experiencing homelessness in our city:

For those individuals who have not been diagnosed with COVID‑19 and are not showing any symptoms:
The Government of Alberta, City of Calgary and shelter operators have increased our community’s ability to shelter individuals experiencing homelessness through COVID-19 in compliance with Alberta Health guidelines. The Telus Convention Centre is an emergency shelter with capacity for 350 people and ensures that individuals can maintain physical distancing guidelines while shelter operators continue to provide support expertise in managing group care sites. Remaining agile and responsive to shelter overflow needs continues to be a priority.

For those individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID‑19 or are showing symptoms:
An Assisted Self-Isolation Site has been established to house individuals in separate, private rooms who are symptomatic, test positive, or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID‑19. The city of Calgary and AHS Calgary Region have provided input on the selection of the site to address self-isolation requirements for those experiencing homelessness or who have no fixed address. The Assisted Self-Isolation Site will utilize available hotel spaces in Calgary to provide medical supports to vulnerable individuals in a safe, private, and secure environment to reduce the risk of the community spread of COVID‑19.

The Government of Alberta, The City of Calgary, AHS Calgary region and our community partners have been working as diligently and quickly as possible to create solutions to assist our city’s most vulnerable. This is an unprecedented situation and we are encouraged by the dedication and compassion displayed by all who care for those who are experiencing homelessness in our city, and we encourage all Calgarians to continue to practice self-care and physical distancing, and to lead with kindness and care for others.

If you are experiencing homelessness and need help, please click here


Alberta Health Services: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx#toc-2
Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
Alberta Health Services – Online Covid-19 Self Assessment: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Journey/COVID-19/Pages/COVID-Self-Assessment.aspx


If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, fatigue and shortness of breath), self-quarantine for the recommended period of time (14 days) and contact 8-1-1 for assessment.

Thank you to all of the service providers throughout the city who are providing exceptional care for our most vulnerable citizens. Your tireless efforts do not go unnoticed.

During these challenging times, we encourage all to prioritize your well-being and to lead with kindness and care for each other, as your community members are also working through these trying times beside you.

*Please note, this page will continue to be updated with relevant information. Check back regularly for updates.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is CHF doing to address the possible spread and transmission of COVID‑19?

CHF has modified our practices and the ways in which we convene community. Heeding the advice of public health authorities, large meetings (over 15) that take place in person, such as Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA), Training and Communities of Learning have been paused or shifted to a virtual process. The safety and well-being of staff, participants, the community and those who are experiencing homelessness is always at the forefront of our decision making.

What is CHF’s role during this pandemic?

CHF continues to fulfill our role as the system level leader for Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care. We have been working in partnership with community to develop both immediate and longer-term solutions. CHF is currently funding medical screening tents at the Drop-In Centre; providing funding for shelter diversion programs; ramping up staff within front-line programs and homecare services; and boosting our city’s outreach supports.

CHF has also spearheaded and managed the coordination and rapid activation of an Assisted Self-Isolation Site to take care of individuals experiencing homelessness (or who have no fixed address) who are symptomatic or have a confirmed case of COVID-19 and do not require hospitalization. People will be pre-screened and triaged into the site through hospital emergency departments and at emergency shelters by medical personnel, as per Alberta Health guidelines.

Is CHF continuing to house those who are homeless?

Yes. We continue to provide care and coordinate housing for Calgarians with no fixed address. Our continued goal for Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA) is to convene in a virtual capacity and all teams are continuing to participate as best they can. However, we are remaining agile as the situation evolves.

How does a state of emergency impact your work?

The state of emergency allows the Government of Alberta to make decisions more quickly. Our ministry (Community and Social Services) is meeting daily with the shelters and community-based organizations like CHF to identify issues and flag them to the Alberta Provincial Operations Centre (APOC).

What is the most pressing concern at this time?

Right now we’re looking at coordinating our efforts with the Province and the City to make sure that there is an appropriate and measured medical response that allows us to isolate, quarantine, respond, and treat people accordingly, and ensure that front-line staff and their work environments are safe.

How is CHF supporting shelters?

We are currently working closely with our shelter partners to support them through this challenging and difficult time. They are continuing to house people as rapidly as possible and have worked with community doctors to set up spaces for both testing and isolation. We have every confidence that they are taking appropriate measures and are following the recommendations of public health authorities.

CHF is supporting Calgary’s response by funding medical screening tents at the Drop-In Centre; providing funding for shelter diversion programs; ramping up staff within front-line programs and homecare services; and boosting our city’s outreach supports. In addition, we are managing the coordination and rapid activation of an Assisted Self-Isolation Site to take care of individuals experiencing homelessness (or who have no fixed address) who are symptomatic or have a confirmed case of COVID‑19 and do not require hospitalization.

What is CHF currently doing to support people that are at risk of / experiencing homelessness during this pandemic?

CHF continues to fund and support 26 agencies in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care (CHSSC) to stably house close to 2,100 people with lived experience of homelessness. These supports include disseminating fast-emerging best practices and where possible, additional funding required for COVID-19 needs. This includes distribution of any emergency funding to immediate and longer-term solutions.

We also continue to provide housing to individuals experiencing homelessness through a virtual Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA) practice. At this time, all teams are continuing to participate as best they can. However, we are remaining agile as the situation evolves.

What is the sector doing to address the possible spread and transmission of COVID‑19?

We have confidence that the agencies with Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care (CHSSC) will continue to assess and implement appropriate and measured precautions against the possible transmission of COVID‑19 within the homeless population. We continue to work closely with our shelter partners (Alpha House, Calgary Drop-In Center) to support them through this challenging and difficult time. They are continuing to house people as rapidly as possible and are working with community doctors to set up spaces for testing and creating physical distancing and isolation spaces. CHF respects that every organization will have their own protocols and procedures in place to address the current situation and how it may possibly affect their service delivery. We are continuing to work with every one of our partners as the situation continues to evolve.

What types of measures are your funded programs taking?

The agencies that we fund are concentrating on their existing sanitation measures and are focused on staff wellness and hygiene as per the guidance of public health officials. Many share our concerns about the well-being of clients in our buildings and programs and have made a resounding commitment to continue to do what they can to ensure the delivery of services to vulnerable Calgarians.

If someone tests positive in shelter, what are you doing to protect the rest of population?

Agencies within Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care (CHSSC) continue to assess and implement appropriate and measured precautions against the possible transmission of COVID‑19 within the homeless population and continue to house people as rapidly as possible. Individuals experiencing homelessness will be pre-screened and triaged at hospital emergency departments and at the emergency shelters by medical personnel based on Alberta Health guidelines and referred for assisted self-isolation as required.

What additional measures are being taken to support front-line workers?

The agencies that we fund are concentrating on their existing sanitation measures and are focused on staff wellness and hygiene as per the guidance of public health officials. Many share our concerns about the well-being of clients in our buildings and programs, and have made a resounding commitment to continue to do what they can to ensure the delivery of services to vulnerable Calgarians.

CHF respects that every organization will have their own protocols and procedures in place to address the current situation, measures to ensure the protection of their front-line staff, and how it may possibly affect their service delivery. We are continuing to work with every one of our partners as the situation continues to evolve.

What are the most urgent needs for people experiencing homelessness?

The agencies and shelters within Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care are working hard to implement best precautionary measures against the transmission of COVID‑19 for all front-line workers and within the population of individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Resources are burdened across our front lines, and the climb to emerge from this crisis is steep. If you are inclined to donate during this difficult time, we encourage you to support these agencies as they are our first line of defense in stopping the spread of COVID‑19 among those experiencing homelessness.

  • A COVID‑19 Community Response Fund has been established by The City of Calgary (including the Calgary Emergency Management Agency), and United Way of Calgary and Area, to support Community agencies who are working diligently to keep Calgarians safe and well by visiting https://calgaryunitedway.org/.
  • In addition, a COVID‑19 Urgent Charity Needs page has also been set up by The Calgary Foundation, for local charities to share their needs with Calgarians who want to help and can be accessed by visiting https://ckc.calgaryfoundation.org/.

CHF will be working directly with both organizations to determine funding priorities for Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care.

What is being done for the people who are in shelters?

We are currently working closely with our shelter partners to support them through this challenging and difficult time. They are continuing to house people as rapidly as possible and are working with community doctors to set up spaces for testing, creating physical distancing spaces and creating isolation spaces to use, if necessary. We have every confidence that they are taking appropriate measures and are following the recommendations of public health authorities.

What happens if there is an outbreak within the programs or shelters?

We will rely on the Assisted Self-Isolation Site and Alberta Health Services supports to contain any potential outbreak.

What information can I share to assist Calgarians experiencing homelessness when they appear to be symptomatic?

If you see a person who appears to be experiencing homelessness and also appears to be symptomatic (or in medical distress) please call 911 and warn EMS if it may be a potential COVID‑19 case.

Are people experiencing homelessness being tested for COVID‑19? Where can they go to be tested?

Individuals experiencing homelessness can go to the Drop-In Centre, The Mustard Seed or Alpha House to be assessed for initial screening. Shelter staff will be able to arrange for testing if required. If the individual requires emergency medical interventions, they will be seen at a hospital or urgent care facility.

How can people who are experiencing homelessness or who have no home self-isolate? Is there somewhere for them to do so?

In addition to the efforts of individual shelters in our city to create isolation spaces, CHF has spearheaded and managed the coordination and rapid activation of an Assisted Self-Isolation Site to take care of individuals experiencing homelessness (or who have no fixed address) who are symptomatic or have a confirmed case of COVID‑19 and do not require hospitalization.

How many assisted self-isolation units are there, is there enough?

Up to 100 units will be available for the self-isolation needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. This is an unprecedented project to safely coordinate, and discussions are underway on a next step to scale additional options where appropriate.

Will individuals experiencing homelessness be able to stay in the Assisted Self-Isolation Site long-term?

Individuals who require self isolation will stay within the site for as long as required under the current AHS and public health orders – or as long as it takes for them to recover.

Where is the Assisted Self-Isolation Site located?

Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary have guided us in the selection of an appropriate site. We are also following AHS guidelines and best practices towards creating a medical response facility that is safe and secure for both the front-line workers and those who are isolated within the units, as well as taking steps to maintain the integrity of the building itself.

In order to ensure that the response is orderly, coordinated, maintains privacy, and efficiently serves those most in need of this support, the location of the Isolation Centre will not be disclosed.

If I encounter someone with symptoms is it possible to refer them for placement in the Assisted Self-Isolation Site?

No. We encourage any individual experiencing homelessness who appears to be symptomatic to access emergency shelters for pre-screening and triage by medical personnel based on Alberta Health Service guidelines.

Why aren’t all people in shelter being moved into these units?
Why are some people being placed into the Telus Convention Centre and not hotels?

At this time, for individuals who are not diagnosed with or exhibiting symptoms of COVID‑19, our shelter partners have coordinated with the City of Calgary to open overflow centres to ensure that appropriate physical distancing can be maintained.

The designated Assisted Self-Isolation Site units within the hotel are reserved for individuals who require self-isolation due to medical need. For the safety and well-being of all individuals within the building, the need for individuals to be transported to the units will be determined through a pre-screening and triage by medical personnel based on Alberta Health guidelines.

click here to read our previous COVID‑19 statements

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtYwG8_LfDk&feature=emb_logo

On November 19, 2020, Calgary Homeless Foundation and its community partners celebrated the opening of The Triveri House, which will provide 38 youth with a warm, safe place to call home.  

The opening included the launch of a new microsite, featuring a video that provides an exclusive peek into the building itself, and insight from those who made the building a reality.   

A Place of Stability for Youth 

The Triveri House, which offers 37 units and one transitional suite, is located in Calgary’s Forest Lawn community. It will provide homeless and vulnerable youth with the foundation they need to begin their journey towards health and independence.  

According to the 2018 Point-in-time Count, of the 2,911 Calgarians experiencing homelessness on any given night, 18% (over 500 individuals) are under the age of 24. In the Coordinated Access and Assessment system, which matches people with the programs and services they need, around 80 youth are waiting for supportive housing in Calgary. 

Mady Stone, a member of the Youth Advisory Table, describes her experiences of homelessness on and off between the ages of 16 to 21 as “the scariest thing” in her life. 

She says is excited about The Triveri House, because “it will mean people getting housed faster and having a place to feel stable.”  

Supports for the Journey Home 

To help tenants of The Triveri House begin their journey towards healing, Enviros was selected as the building’s agency provider through an extensive RFP process.  

The agency will assign a case manager to each tenant to determine their goals and needs. Case managers will help them access health care, income supports, and food security, while enabling them to integrate into the community and connect with their natural supports. Case managers will also assist tenants in learning the daily life skills required to live independently. 

The Triveri House offers a range of supports, from minimal intervention to more intensive case management for those with complex needs. It will also provide a spectrum of programming, including:  

  • Housing identification;  
  • Rent and move-in assistance;  
  • Case management;  
  • Short-term housing with supports while residents await more permanent options, and 
  • More intensive longer-term housing.

Hazel Bergen, CEO of Enviros, says the agency is looking forward to working with tenants, noting it has extensive experience working with youth aged 18 to 24, who are moving to independence through Enviros’s Youth Transition to Adulthood program and the wilderness addiction treatment program held at Shunda Creek. 

She observes that youth must have a “safe place to sleep and call home” before “they can work towards the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being they need in order to successfully exit homelessness and become independent.” 

Collaborating to Make Home A Reality 

The Triveri House marks the ninth newly constructed building given to Calgary Homeless Foundation and its housing collaborator, HomeSpace Society, through the RESOLVE Campaign.  

The development was made possible through the generosity of philanthropic donor, Calbridge HomesHomeSpace Society developed the property and will continue to own and operate it. The Government of Canada (through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) and the Government of Alberta also contributed to the build, as did the City of Calgary through a non-market land disposition.  

Patricia Jones, President and CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation, says as a result of this collaboration, the youth moving into The Triveri House “will have a place of belonging, and a stable foundation upon which all other healing can happen.”     

Bernadette Madjell, CEO of HomeSpace Society adds, “HomeSpace Society is proud to partner with Calbridge Homes for this build, which will be our largest new permanent supportive housing development to date.”  

She continues: “Our strong community partnerships are critical for the work we do in continually adding new affordable housing in our city and providing homes, safety and dignity to some of Calgary’s most vulnerable residents.”   

A Name with Meaning  

The Triveri House is named in memory of Caterina Triveri-Ferraro and Raimondo Ferraro – the parents of Joe Ferraro, Chairman and Founder of Calbridge Homes – and serves as a dedication to his mother’s side of the family.   

The name honours the Ferraro family’s hardships after moving to Canada from Italy in the 1950s and the strength they developed through the experience. It recognizes that communities become stronger when people help one another.   

Bev Higham-Linehan, President and CEO of Calbridge Homes, says the company is “grateful to be in a position to give back to people in need, particularly at this time in our economy here in Alberta.” 

“This contribution to the RESOLVE Campaign is the biggest donation we have ever done and it could not be a more worthy cause,” she says. 

To the residents of The Triveri House — welcome home!  

For more information on the building, visit: www.triverihouse.com. 

The Triveri House: In the News 

Patricia Jones, President and CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation at The Triveri House
Community Room at The Triveri House
Outdoor Space at The Triveri House

Join us at The Trail Blazer Breakfast, to be held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Every year, Calgary Homeless Foundation connects leaders, innovators and philanthropists at The Trail Blazer Breakfast to address issues of poverty and homelessness.   

This year, we are pleased to present Lieutenant-General (Ret) The Honourable Roméo Dallaire as our keynote speaker.   

A celebrated advocate for human rights, General Dallaire is a respected author, government and UN advisor, former Canadian senator, and founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, a global partnership with the mission to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.  

General Dallaire will draw from his experiences to show us a path forward in a world changed by COVID-19. We will explore how countries have recovered and thrived after unspeakable crises and how we can chart a hopeful future together. Come be inspired by a true force of transformative action.  

The event will also honour Tim J. Hearn as the recipient of the 2021 Trail Blazer Legacy Award, which recognizes an individual or group whose dedication to the vision of ending homelessness has created a lasting impact on our community. 

We appreciate your patience as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 safety guidelines from Alberta Health Services. We promise that if community health concerns require a virtual event, it will still be one you won’t want to miss!

Visit our website for more information about the event or email trailblazeryyc@calgaryhomeless.com

Calgary Homeless Foundation and developer HomeSpace Society will celebrate the virtual opening of a new building in downtown Calgary on December 15, 2020 with a video featuring the stakeholders of the building,  

The 74-unit, nine-storey concrete tower, located at the corner of 5th Avenue and 9th Street, is the largest building in HomeSpace’s portfolio of thirty properties, as well as the first constructed of concrete and located in the Core. It is also the tenth build completed through the RESOLVE Campaign.  

The tower is an impressive testament to the power of philanthropic gifts when it is combined with resources from various levels of government.  

David and Leslie Bissett provided generous support as the lead philanthropic contributor to the build. Their donation was complemented with funds from the Government of Canada (through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation), a land donation from the City of Calgary, and philanthropic support from Suncor Energy Foundation. 

HomeSpace, which owns and operates the building, says it has partnered with two service providers to handle resident referrals, supports and community development. 

It says it is proud to have brought the tower to life despite several delays and challenges resulting from the pandemic, and adds that the building, its residents and staff will contribute to the vibrancy of the Downtown-West neighbourhood for decades to come. 

Calgary Homeless Foundation is developing a Community Data Hub – an initiative that streamlines work for agencies and provides a fuller picture of people’s needs on their journey home. 

The purpose of the Community Data Hub is to free agencies from repetitive data entry, giving them more time with clients. Currently, agencies must enter information into our database, the Homeless Management Information System, as well as their own and those of other funders. This process is inefficient, and the reports we generate is limited and only produced every three months.  

With the Community Data Hub, staff will only need to enter data about their clients once. They will also be able to access reports about their clients in real time, enabling them to see trends to help them manage their programs. 

The hub will also provide a more complete picture of clients’ journeys. Drawing on data from other systems like Health and Justice, predictive tools based on artificial intelligence will calculate the risks for each client, including their risk of returning to homelessness. In this way, the hub will help agencies design programs and solutions that are tailored to a client’s unique needs. 

Finally, the Community Data Hub lets us collaborate with research partners, giving us a better understanding of what innovations create the best results for our clients. 

So what does all this mean for the most important people – those experiencing homelessness? 

More attention. Agencies will have more time to spend directly with clients, because they won’t need to dedicate staff time to data entry. Clients will immediately get better personalized and immediate service.  

Less trauma. Clients won’t need to answer questions about themselves repeatedly.  

Higher quality service. With real-time access to relevant information (such as a client’s housing, health, or how well they have been served by other programs), agencies are better able to direct clients to programs that are best-placed to help them find their way home. 

Support from NOVA Chemical and the Poelzer Family Foundation Fund is helping us build the first piece of this ambitious, multi-year initiative. Stay tuned for further updates, and information on how you can help make the Community Data Hub a reality! 

On October 22, 2020, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) and its community partners celebrated the opening of The James House through the launch of a new microsite, featuring a video that provides an exclusive peek into the building itself, and insight from those who made the building a reality.  

Building Lifelong Success 

The James House, which offers 27 units in a building located in the community of Hillhurst, will house vulnerable and homeless Calgarians and provide them with the supports they need to help them begin their journey towards health and independence. 

Agency provider McMan Calgary & Area will focus on connecting residents of The James House to natural supports, such as family and friends, and assist them in becoming members of the community within a targeted stay of ten months. Residents will also work with a diversion advocate to secure financial supports, liaise with landlords, and find appropriate accommodation.  

“Our innovative service model leverages friends, family, community and professional supports to holistically address each resident’s unique needs and help them attain their goals,” says Soraya Saliba, Executive Director of McMan Calgary & Area. She adds: “The relationships, connections and skills residents will build at The James House are critical to their lifelong well-being and success.” 

With McMan offering a broad spectrum of services, Calgarians can move from homelessness into a home with 24/7 supports that focus on their health, financial stability, and community connections.  

An Unprecedented Collaboration 

For agencies serving people experiencing homelessness, The James House represents an unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sector. 

On the public side, the Government of Canada (through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) supported the project alongside the Government of Alberta, and the City of Calgary provided a non-market land disposition.  

On the private side, philanthropic donors Logel Homes and Cardel Homes developed the property with non-market developer and building manager HomeSpace Society, which will continue to own and operate the building. 

Patricia Jones, CEO of CHF, says the collaboration between the parties is a “demonstration that homelessness can end when we intentionally choose to work together.” 

Bernadette Madjell, CEO of HomeSpace Society, adds: “Our strong community partnerships are critical for the work we do in continually adding new affordable housing in our city and providing homes, safety and dignity to some of Calgary’s most vulnerable residents.” 

A Personal Legacy 

In addition to having an opportunity to partner with the public sector and provide a second chance to Calgarians experiencing homelessness, The James House is a deeply personal project for Tim Logel, President and CEO of Logel Homes and Co-Founder of Cardel Lifestyles.  

“When I first moved to Calgary in 1978, looking for my first job, and with little money, I struggled to find a place to live,” Logel says. “For a short time, I was in my tent in a KOA camp, and will not forget the feeling of not having a home.” 

Logel says his passion for homebuilding was ignited after helping his father build a barn on an Ontario farm when he was 14. The James House is named after his father, and Logel says his father would be honoured to have his name on a building that is providing a home to vulnerable Calgarians.   

A Stable Foundation 

Buildings like The James House highlight the importance of home as a foundation for a person’s life, and the place where healing can begin. 

When Jeffrey Yellowfly moved to Calgary, one of his main goals was to obtain a place for himself. “[H]aving permanent living quarters would give me better opportunities to access all my other needs to maintain a proper lifestyle,” he says. 

Today, Jeffrey is a natural support for a housing client of McMan. He describes housing as “the most integral part of having a healthy living environment.” 

Jones agrees and says The James House will “provide a place of belonging, and a stable foundation upon which all other healing happens.” 

To the residents of The James House — welcome home! 

For more information on the building, visit:  www.thejameshouse.ca.   

Kitchen at The James House
Resident unit at The James House
Barrier-free shower at The James House
Tim Logel outside of The James House
Ryan Ockey (left) and Tim Logel (right) at The James House