Recession Impacts Participants at Calgary’s Fifth Project Homeless Connect

May 23, 2009

Calgary, Alberta – Like a growing number of Calgarians, Marcel lost his job due to the recession and is now homeless for the first time. Thanks to today’s Project Homeless Connect (PHC), Marcel was able to access several services in one location and get help to get on his feet again.

 

Marcel worked as a drywaller in Calgary until he was laid off from his job. The 50-year-old continued to seek employment and worked casually when opportunities arose. Unfortunately, his income wasn’t enough to cover his rent and other bills; therefore, he was evicted from his apartment soon after. Marcel lived in a temporary homeless shelter until recently, as he had stayed there too long and was asked to leave. When Marcel found himself on the street with $400 in his pocket, he decided to try his luck at a casino. He lost all of his money and couldn’t afford a place to sleep.

 

“Marcel’s situation isn’t unusual,” noted Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “The impacts of employment loss among our lower-income neighbours are becoming more visible. There is an increase in the number of individuals who are homeless for the first-time attending PHC events, and we’re also seeing an increase in the number of first-time PHC participants,” said Richter.

 

Many people are drawn to PHC to obtain basic necessities – clothing, identification, and a hot lunch. Participants in Calgary’s fifth PHC also had access to housing opportunities, medical treatments and information, mental health services, income support, employment counselling, educational opportunities, aboriginal affairs, addictions services and more.

 

By attending PHC, Marcel was able to get temporary housing as well as counselling for problem gambling through an addictions agency.

 

“In addition to providing help for people like Marcel, PHC is an exercise in community mobilization. Here we see private sector, non-profit, government and Calgarians stepping up to help our homeless neighbours,” said Richter. “An event of this magnitude wouldn’t have been possible without the strong support from our financial and in-kind sponsor Petro-Canada, as well as Brookfield Properties who provided the venue. With this kind of help, we can beat homelessness in our city,” Richter added.

 

Petro-Canada is a strong supporter in the Calgary community, partnering with a number of non-profit organizations, such as the Calgary Homeless Foundation, to make a positive and lasting experience.
 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to sponsor this event,” said Andrew Stephens, Petro-Canada’s senior vice president, corporate relations. “This is the second time that Petro-Canada employees volunteered for Project Homeless Connect. I know this has been a worthwhile experience for everyone involved.”

 

The next two PHC events are scheduled for September 19 and November 21 and take place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Petro-Canada Centre, 150 – 6th Avenue SW, Calgary.

 

Project Homeless Connect (PHC) in Calgary

 

The Calgary Homeless Foundation has organized and hosted five PHC events since 2008. Today’s event served 729 people. PHC is an initiative from Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness and is based on a model used in more than 170 communities in Canada, Australia and the United States.

 

Petro-Canada

 

Petro-Canada is one of Canada's largest oil and gas companies, operating in both the upstream and the downstream sectors of the industry in Canada and internationally. The Company creates value by responsibly developing energy resources and providing world class petroleum products and services. Petro-Canada is proud to be a National Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Petro-Canada's common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the symbol PCA and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol PCZ.

 

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.

 

For more information please contact:

Petro-Canada

Calgary Homeless Foundation

Renee Kelly

Kathleen Polyak

Corporate Communications

Communications & Fund Development

(403) 296-6795 (o)

(403) 718-8540 (o)

(403) 470-3759 (c)