Predicting – and preventing – homelessness before it starts

December 11, 2009

What causes homelessness? Can we predict who will be vulnerable?


The Calgary Homeless Foundation funded a team of experts from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work who developed a unique screening tool that determines the likelihood of homelessness for vulnerable populations.


As the first screening tool to examine pre-homelessness, the Homelessness Asset and Risk Tool will be unveiled at a public symposium today from 12:00 to 2:30 pm at the Siksika Room in McDougall Centre, 455 – 6 Street SW. Media are welcome.


“HART is a practical tool that will help identify vulnerability to homelessness in at-risk individuals and families while they are still housed,” says Tim Richter, CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “We are very excited about its potential for us to develop strategies to prevent people from becoming homeless.”


Presently awaiting funding confirmation from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, HART will be piloted in this city in 2010. Researchers from the Faculty of Social Work will follow 750 individuals in Calgary over the course of the year to predict which of them are most at-risk of homelessness.


Because the research is based on information collected worldwide, lead researcher Leslie Tutty, the Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence, emphasizes the importance of validating HART locally. She adds, “Once HART is operational and homeless serving agencies are able to use this tool, we may be able to target intervention strategies more effectively, and ultimately prevent the misery of homelessness.”


Principal investigator Leslie Tutty, the Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence, will be available to answer questions.

For more information, contact:

Kathleen Polyak

Senior Communications Advisor

Calgary Homeless Foundation

403-718-8540 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            403-718-8540      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Leslie Tutty, PhD

Professor and Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Faculty of Social Work

403-220-5040 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            403-220-5040      end_of_the_skype_highlighting


Calgary Homeless Foundation

The Calgary Homeless Foundation leads the implementation of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. Issued in January 2008, Calgary’s 10 Year Plan was created by the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, a community-based, multi-stakeholder, leadership group who issued the Plan and selected the Foundation to implement the Plan. The Foundation is moving forward on Calgary’s 10 Year Plan in partnership with the many homeless serving agencies, the private sector, our government partners, the faith community, other foundations and all Calgarians to end homelessness in Calgary once and for all. See


University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work

In February 2009, the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work sponsored the second national conference on homelessness and housing, and a number of its researchers are national experts in homelessness research. See