Calgary Homeless Foundation Awards Three-Year, $2 Million Contract to Prevent Family Homelessness

February 10, 2011

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 10, 2011) - Aspen and Inn from the Cold (IFTC) will work together to help families at imminent risk of homelessness, with the capacity to house and support 220 to 250 families in the first year.

"This program is an excellent example of the focus in the updated 10 Year Plan to prevent homelessness," said Tim Richter, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). "It's more effective to prevent families from becoming homeless than helping them when they are in an emergency situation."

The CHF is directing $750,000 per year of Government of Alberta funding to the program. The three-year contract enables the program to hire qualified staff, implement "best practices" and monitor outcomes. The program was inspired by a local pilot and the experience of a United Kingdom program run by Thames Reach.

"This program was the result of a pilot project that was overwhelmingly supported by sector partners, producing amazingly hopeful results," said Yvette Rasmussen, Executive Director, Inn from the Cold. "With the adoption of case management standards for homelessness and the introduction of a Homeless Management Information System, we'll be in an even better position to help families who so dearly need our support."

Aspen and IFTC will work with key community partners – particularly Brenda's House and YWCA of Calgary's housing facility, the YWCA Mary Dover House – to ensure that eligible families are connected to the program. At a meeting last week, Aspen and IFTC described the project to partnering agencies, so they could effectively screen and refer families to the program.

Aspen VP of Innovation & Strategy, Jeff St. John, spoke to collaboration, "Aspen and the Inn pride ourselves on finding creative ways to partner with an invaluable network of agencies, community groups, funders, faith groups and volunteers. Success is only possible through a unified effort to end family homelessness in Calgary." 

The program will consist of five outreach workers and a part-time leader. The team will develop a case plan for each family with active case management for three to 12 months, depending on each family's needs.

Over the first three years of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, agencies housed and supported more than 450 families. Despite this progress, families experiencing homelessness continue to stay in an emergency shelter about three weeks before moving to permanent housing. The goal is to reduce this time to two weeks over the next few years and one week by January 29, 2018.

About Aspen

Aspen is a social service agency with over 25 years of service to the Calgary community. Aspen's approach is to address all aspects of an individual's life, including financial, personal and social resources to create lasting change. It is dedicated to helping people create better lives, by providing support and establishing connections to services to prevent challenging situations from reoccurring. Aspen offers a variety of programs designed to meet the changing needs in the community, including people living in poverty, the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. Aspen is an active partner in Calgary's 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. It is one of Calgary's largest family service agencies, serving over 5,000 clients every year.

About Inn from the Cold

Inn from the Cold provides emergency shelter, hope and help to homeless families and others in need. Since 1997, Inn from the Cold has helped more than 1,000 homeless families. It is a grassroots community of over 63 churches, synagogues, community associations and organizations with over 3,200 volunteers united by a shared belief that every guest deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Inn from the Cold's vision is a community where no family is homeless.

About the 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 CHF to implement the Plan. The CHF 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.