Kootenay Lodge

Approximately 40 Calgarians will be moved out of homelessness and into long-term housing by March 31, 2021, thanks to a new bridge housing program in a Martindale apartment building. The program will see individuals receive temporary housing at Kootenay Lodge with on-site support services so they can quickly and successfully move from the emergency shelter system into independent living. As part of the Diversion Bridge Housing Program, this 10-unit building’s bridge housing program is made possible as part of a collaboration between Calgary Homeless Foundation, HomeSpace Society and The Mustard Seed, and is especially important given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Sept. 17, 2020, The Mustard Seed began receiving referrals to the building with staggered move-ins to follow. Individuals who have experienced homelessness for less than one year will move from an emergency shelter to Kootenay Lodge before relocating to a home. The program is targeted at individuals who face 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. 

Diverting people out of their experience of homelessness into a home is the best solution for the health of the individual and the community as a whole during the health crisis presented by COVID-19.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that, now more than ever, housing is essential for health. As an immediate response, we have strengthened our partnerships in community to create collective solutions through coordination and collaboration to prevent and end homelessness for Calgarians as quickly and efficiently as possible— including this partnership with The Mustard Seed and HomeSpace,” says Matt Nomura, Vice President of Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, Calgary Homeless Foundation. “No two stories or pathways into homelessness are the same. An individual’s journey towards recovery requires a spectrum of services to support their successful exit out of homelessness. These services include a range of supports, from abstinence to harm reduction, and housing with intense supports to independent living,” Nomura continued.  

The Mustard Seed will support the individuals during their time at the Kootenay Lodge, and throughout their transition as they move to their new home. 

“The Mustard Seed is proud to offer multifaceted wraparound services to quickly facilitate moving individuals out of homelessness. We have a Resident Engagement worker on site to facilitate move-ins and move-outs, as well as ensure adherence to COVID precautions in place to protect residents. We also have a Diversion Advocate on site, who will assist in the housing journey, providing resources and system navigation for clients to smoothly transition into permanent housing,” said Samantha Lowe, Health and Wellness Manager, The Mustard Seed. 

The Diversion Bridge Housing Program estimates that individuals will stay  at Kootenay Lodge before moving into stable long-term housing.  

“HomeSpace is committed to creating more affordable housing so vulnerable people can rebuild their lives from a place of dignity and safety,“ says Bernadette Majdell, CEO, HomeSpace Society. “This new bridge housing program at HomeSpace’s Kootenay Lodge is a perfect example of innovative collaboration to help address the urgent needs of our city.”

Kootenay Lodge - 40 Calgarians will be moved out of homelessness and into long-term housing
Kootenay Lodge

Approximately 40 Calgarians will be moved out of homelessness and into long-term housing by March 31, 2021, thanks to a new bridge housing program in a Martindale apartment building. The program will see individuals receive temporary housing at Kootenay Lodge with on-site support services so they can quickly and successfully move from the emergency shelter system into independent living. As part of the Diversion Bridge Housing Program, this 10-unit building’s bridge housing program is made possible as part of a collaboration between Calgary Homeless Foundation, HomeSpace Society and The Mustard Seed, and is especially important given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Sept. 17, 2020, The Mustard Seed began receiving referrals to the building with staggered move-ins to follow. Individuals who have experienced homelessness for less than one year will move from an emergency shelter to Kootenay Lodge before relocating to a home. The program is targeted at individuals who face 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. 

Diverting people out of their experience of homelessness into a home is the best solution for the health of the individual and the community as a whole during the health crisis presented by COVID-19.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that, now more than ever, housing is essential for health. As an immediate response, we have strengthened our partnerships in community to create collective solutions through coordination and collaboration to prevent and end homelessness for Calgarians as quickly and efficiently as possible— including this partnership with The Mustard Seed and HomeSpace,” says Matt Nomura, Vice President of Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, Calgary Homeless Foundation. “No two stories or pathways into homelessness are the same. An individual’s journey towards recovery requires a spectrum of services to support their successful exit out of homelessness. These services include a range of supports, from abstinence to harm reduction, and housing with intense supports to independent living,” Nomura continued.  

The Mustard Seed will support the individuals during their time at the Kootenay Lodge, and throughout their transition as they move to their new home. 

“The Mustard Seed is proud to offer multifaceted wraparound services to quickly facilitate moving individuals out of homelessness. We have a Resident Engagement worker on site to facilitate move-ins and move-outs, as well as ensure adherence to COVID precautions in place to protect residents. We also have a Diversion Advocate on site, who will assist in the housing journey, providing resources and system navigation for clients to smoothly transition into permanent housing,” said Samantha Lowe, Health and Wellness Manager, The Mustard Seed. 

The Diversion Bridge Housing Program estimates that individuals will stay  at Kootenay Lodge before moving into stable long-term housing.  

“HomeSpace is committed to creating more affordable housing so vulnerable people can rebuild their lives from a place of dignity and safety,“ says Bernadette Majdell, CEO, HomeSpace Society. “This new bridge housing program at HomeSpace’s Kootenay Lodge is a perfect example of innovative collaboration to help address the urgent needs of our city.”

What does diversion mean?

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

What does diversion look like?

Diversion programs exist for people who have recently become homeless and have only just entered Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care. It often happens at the shelter door as a conversation with a case worker. The caseworker will talk with the client to determine how they entered homelessness and see if there are any natural supports they can lean on, such as family or friends. Some of the programs even work with families to repair broken relationships. They can connect the individual with assistance in applying for financial supports, damage deposit, rental arrears relocation or rehousing, or a few months’ rent.

Why is diversion important?

Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care works to provide tailored support for everyone. Even though there are some similarities amongst the homeless population, everyone’s needs are different, and we collectively offer a spectrum of services to help.

Imagine if our health care system was only made up of hospitals. People don’t always need to visit the ER if a trip to the pharmacy will do. It’s the same with the services our sector provides to clients; diversion is one offering on a spectrum of services.

If the difference between someone being quickly rehoused or staying homeless is simply assistance with a damage deposit, rental arrears, or applying for Alberta Works, diversion programs aim to make up the difference, addressing someone’s homelessness in the moment, or quickly after it starts. We utilize diversion to decrease the number of people in the homeless-serving system of care and reduce time spent in a shelter, which can be challenging and traumatizing, and potentially further entrench them into homelessness.

What would happen if appropriate diversion did not happen?

Shelters are a vital part of our homeless-serving system. They are there for people who have nowhere else to turn. The experience of being in a shelter is also a big adjustment from the experience of having a home. It can be very traumatizing for people and has the potential to increase the complexity of an already challenging situation. It disconnects them from the relationships they usually rely on and forces them to rely on a system, which can be destabilizing. It means that someone else cooks for them, shows them where to sleep, and tells them when to wake up—and it means they don’t have an address or a place to store their belongings. Shelters can also be a health risk, especially in our current COVID-19 context. The purpose of a shelter is to provide emergency space while people wait for more permanent housing.

How does diversion work contribute to reducing and ending homelessness?

Diverting people from shelter ensures that they move into housing quickly instead—which means that people can rely on themselves and their natural supports rather than the homeless-serving system of care. That means that many people can be spared from utilizing emergency shelters—and if they do enter a shelter, they are moved into housing quickly, ending their experience of homelessness.

What agencies are currently involved in diversion work?

The Mustard Seed, Calgary Drop-In Centre, Aspen Family and Community Network Society Children’s Cottage Society, Calgary Alpha House Society, Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary (BGCC), and Centre for Newcomers.

Has diversion work been impacted by the pandemic?

The homeless-serving sector’s diversion work has increased as it’s now considered a health measure to reduce exposure within congregate settings, or large gathering spaces. As part of our COVID-19 response, we’ve launched a transitional hotel with the Calgary Drop-in Centre that diverts individuals from shelters and moves them into permanent housing, and we are also in the midst of launching a place-based diversion program with the Mustard Seed.

What is CHF’s role in diversion?

CHF primarily funds these programs, and we also collect data from these programs—such as the number of people accessing them, their current barriers to housing, and the kinds of solutions that are available within our community. We analyze the information so the sector can better serve other individuals who may be facing a similar situation. We also provide training opportunities, mentorship, and programs for caseworkers who work within these programs.

What are the results?

Since January, 284 people have been diverted from shelter into housing, and all of these individuals are exceeding our goal of remaining in housing for 3 months without re-entering the shelter system. Diversion programs are a recent development with the collection of diversion data began in 2019. The information will continue to be reviewed, and will inform more successful diversion work as we continue.

Originally published 08/14/2020 by Calgary Herald
https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-we-cant-talk-about-societal-change-without-talking-about-homelessness

Patricia Jones, President & CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation
Photo: AZIN GHAFFARI / Postmedia

Twenty-seven years ago, I began my career serving people as a social worker with Catholic Family Service. During that time, I developed a deep reverence for those experiencing vulnerability. From mental health programs, affordable counselling, and marriage preparation, to teaching life skills to teen parents and helping adult learners complete their GED – every day, we worked to build strong families in Calgary.

Yet, while I passionately believe that education, mental health and addiction support is key to moving individuals and families out of poverty, it was one of our signature partnerships that taught me that people cannot move on in their lives without a literal foundation – that is, a place to call home.

That program was the Louise Dean Centre, a wraparound service and school for pregnant and parenting teen mothers and fathers. We were proud of our graduates and worked hard to promote their healing and wellness, but the reality was that our participants and their children would leave our programs with no safe place to land.

Approximately twenty per cent of the students were homeless. They were completing their homework in the back of cars, taking their newborns to friends’ couches, and stuffing their diplomas into suitcases. Over half had been accepted into post-secondary school, but the thought of figuring out childcare, paying for school and groceries was understandably paralyzing. And, if they were connected to housing, often they did not have the skills to maintain it. How can someone build a strong family without a place to kiss their children goodnight? Sadly, this is the daily experience of many people in our city, with 100,000 households projected to be in need of housing in the next five years.

During the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also never been more evident that housing is our first and best line of defense when it comes to addressing crisis. People cannot self-isolate without a home. 

In response, Calgary Homeless Foundation coordinated the efforts of Calgary’s established and well-respected homeless-serving community – agencies, shelters and government partners – who came together to launch an isolation centre as a temporary emergency response to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within and outside the city’s homeless population. Since early April, over 305 medically at-risk individuals have been given the ability to self-isolate for two weeks and nearly 100 of them have been moved into permanent housing to date.

Despite these extraordinary efforts, on any given day, pandemic or not, there are approximately 2,911 Calgarians experiencing homelessness — which means there are 2,911 stories where systems have potentially failed. In addition, our shared challenge in Calgary continues to be an availability of appropriate housing for vulnerable populations.

It is because of these kinds of stories that I chose to step into the role of President and CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation. I believe that any personal, familial, and societal transformation begins with – and requires – a place to call home.

Solving homelessness underpins every other development effort in our city. Societal change is not created by any one foundation, agency, individual, or government alone. For that reason, I look forward to working together to provide a continuum of housing options with the right supports so Calgarians have a foundation upon which healing and recovery can happen.

When we talk about caring for vulnerable families and individuals, our community health – or any of the social issues we’re facing in our city today – we will continue to fall short if we’re not also talking about how to create housing and homes for the people we’re caring for.

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

Patricia Jones - President & CEO, Calgary Homeless FoundationCalgary Homeless Foundation’s (CHF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Patricia Jones as CHF’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective August 10, 2020. Following a Canada-wide recruitment process led by Leaders International Executive Search, Patricia was identified as the ideal visionary leader to propel CHF’s mission forward during this pivotal time.

Patricia comes to CHF from a dedicated 27 years with Catholic Family Service, where she focused on the delivery of programs and services to break cycles of generational vulnerability and build strong families. With a great appreciation for CHF’s mission-focused future, she was drawn to the role by our focus on collective action, evidence-based outcomes, and a strong personal belief that every Calgarian deserves a place to call home.

“CHF has an incredible future before it with a strong board and exceptional leadership team and staff, and with Patricia leading the way, we will deliver excellence and value to Calgary and our Homeless-Serving System of Care, and ultimately, we will continue to deliver the best care for Calgary’s most vulnerable,” says Gerald Chipeur, CHF Board Chair

Collaborative leadership, innovative, big picture thinking and a firm belief in system planning, and evidence-based practice guides Patricia’s work as she begins her journey with CHF. Under her leadership, we will continue to chart our path forward towards the end of homelessness and we are confident that her leadership will be transformative in scope and scale. It is with her strong, capable leadership and innovative community driven focus, that together, we will end homelessness in Calgary.

06/17/2020

On the week of June 15, the Selection Committee of CHF’s Board of Directors announced the Appointment of CHF’s new President and CEO.

Click here to see more

05/06/2020

On the week of April 27, the Selection Committee of CHF’s Board of Directors met with Leadership International Executive Search.

The search firm has identified a list of candidates from across Canada, from both the public and private sectors, who possess key qualifications including leadership, strategic thinking, ability to work with multiple stakeholders, government relations, and knowledge of homelessness and the homeless sector. Over the first week of May, the Selection Committee will be evaluating the list of candidates to identify a short list, and first and second round interviews will commence shortly thereafter.

02/13/2020

The Board of Directors has retained Leaders International Executive Search to conduct a Canada-wide recruitment process for a new President and CEO. Leaders International Executive Search is a leading executive search firm with over 30 years of experience placing senior leaders in the not-for-profit sector.

The job profile for our new CEO has been finalized and posted by Leaders International, and can be found here

click here to read our updated COVID‑19 statements

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March 18, 2020

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, planned public gatherings, and places where transmission may occur. 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 has been actively involved in working with the Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary, and AHS to ensure that those who are experiencing homelessness are best supported through these trying times. These working groups have been working around the clock to ensure that information is up-to-date and is specific to Calgary and our community’s needs.

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.

To view statements on COVID-19 and the actions being taken by Calgary’s homeless-serving agencies, we invite you to visit the I Heart Home Facebook and twitter accounts. Statements from agencies in the sector will continue to be shared through those channels as they become available.

As we move forward and navigate these trying times together, we continue to encourage all of you to practice self-care, and to lead with compassion, kindness and care for others. Even working virtually, we all have the ability to be a pillar of strength and support for others in our community.

For more information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions, below:

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, we have determined that large meetings (over 15) that take place in person, such as Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA), Training and Communities of Learning will be 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.

We are also working closely with Government of Alberta Community and Social Services (CSS), AHS, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), and the City of Calgary and representatives of key agencies.

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. 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.

Is CHF continuing to house those who are homeless?

Yes. At this time, we have implemented a virtual CAA process and all teams are continuing to participate. However, we are remaining agile as the situation evolves.

What about those people who are in shelters?

We are currently working 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 isolation spaces, if necessary. We have every confidence that they are taking appropriate measures and are following the recommendations of public health authorities.

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.

How does the state of emergency declared today impact your work?

The state of emergency allows the Government of Alberta to make decisions more quickly. Our ministry (CSS) 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). $60M of emergency funding was allocated today for immediate supports for the homeless population and women’s shelters to fund measures for social distancing, isolation and daytime supports for those who are experiencing homelessness.

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, respond and treat people accordingly, and ensure that front-line staff and their work environments are safe.

Is the (city/province) looking at the possibility of isolation centres?

Right now, we are all doing our best to make sure that those who are experiencing homelessness have access to safe and secure housing and shelter. We are in discussions with the Province and the City discussing all possible options, and we are hoping to learn more in the coming days and hours.


March 13, 2020

Like many of you, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) has been closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation, specifically the rise in cases throughout Alberta and around the globe. The safety and well-being of staff, our community, and those we serve is at the forefront of our decision making. We have continued 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, planned public gatherings, and places where transmission may occur. We continue to monitor the wellbeing of our staff to ensure they and their families are protected from the spread of the virus.

We have confidence that the agencies within 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 in order to protect them, and the front-line workers within our city.

As circumstances unfold, CHF will continue to adapt and adjust in close alignment with public health authorities and implement measures to ensure we maintain our support for the homeless-serving system of care and those we serve – while focusing on preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

In accordance with the recommendation of public health authorities, we have determined that effective immediately, all large group meetings, trainings, and CHF hosted events which have more than 25 people present will be evaluated to determine whether they will either be postponed, cancelled, or held in a virtual capacity. Smaller group and one-on-one meetings will continue to be assessed on an ongoing basis. Updates regarding specific follow up plans for community events, meetings and trainings will be forthcoming.

We ask that you join us in following the recommendations and guidance from public health and government officials at the following links:

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.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) Board of Directors, with great regret, has accepted the resignation of Diana Krecsy, President and CEO. Diana will be stepping down as leader effective Jan. 31, 2020. Gail Boehm, Chief Operating Officer at CHF, will commence as Acting CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2020. The Board of Directors has retained Leaders International Executive Search to conduct a Canada-wide recruitment process for a new President and CEO. Leaders International Executive Search is a leading executive search firm with over 30 years of experience placing senior leaders in the not-for-profit sector.

After nearly six years of providing innovative and compelling leadership to the organization and community, Diana identified that now is the right time for leadership renewal.

Diana leaves CHF and Community in a position of strength having successfully led community in achieving unprecedented progress and outcomes identified in Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness; co-creating with community a future path forward in the adoption of Together to Zero: a vision for the future of addressing homelessness in Calgary; and delivering to the CHF Board of Directors a new 3-year strategic blueprint that will guide the Foundations’ continued innovative, collaborative, system level leadership in Calgary’s Homeless Serving System of Care.

“CHF has an incredible mission-focused future before it,” says Diana. “It has a strong and talented board, exceptional executive management, a dedicated staff, and is in a strong position to continue to lead on ending homelessness and delivering excellence and value to our city and community.”

Diana is looking forward to exploring new leadership opportunities where she can continue to add value to vulnerable Calgarians and Albertans while remaining a champion of CHF and its mission.

“On behalf of the Board, we thank Diana for her tremendous contribution as the President and CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation. And while it will be impossible to replace Diana’s courageous compassion and commitment to the mission, we will work hard to find the best candidate to lead the organization in advancing our vision that together, we will end homelessness in Calgary,” – Gerald Chipeur, Board Chair, Calgary Homeless Foundation.

 

 

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