Calgary Homeless Foundation: First Graduates of the Only "Working with Homeless Populations" Certificate Program in North America to be Honoured

June 25, 2010

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - June 25, 2010) - The first graduates of the only certificate program in North America specifically designed to enhance skills of those working in the homelessness serving sector will be honoured at a reception Friday evening at the University of Calgary's Hotel Alma.

The Faculty of Social Work's Homeless Service Provider Certificate offers frontline workers who work with homeless and unstably housed persons a comprehensive course in basic skills and knowledge.

"We are excited to be the first post-secondary institution in North America to offer a certificate program in this socially significant area," said Dr. Gayla Rogers, dean of the Faculty of Social Work. "We hope to repeat this course across the province and possibly expand it with more advanced training."

The course was offered during U of C's spring 2010 session to 37 students from a variety of sectors that interact with individuals experiencing homelessness, including police and bylaw officers, social service providers and caseworkers.

"One of the benefits of this program is the opportunity for students to network and better understand other sectors that help Calgarians experiencing homelessness," Rogers explained. "For some, this was their first opportunity to take a university-recognized course that addresses their knowledge and training needs. Participation and response to the course was extremely enthusiastic, and participants report many ways in which they are taking their learning back into the community."

"Calgary was the first city in Canada to develop a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, so it comes as no surprise the city continues to show leadership by offering formal training for those who work with people experiencing homelessness," said Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). "Graduates should be proud to be the first in North America to be part of this type of a certificate program. Their commitment is making a significant contribution to Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness."

The "Working with Homeless Populations" certificate program is based on the underlying philosophy of "Housing First," which puts the highest priority on moving people at risk of or experiencing homelessness into permanent housing with the services and support necessary to sustain them. The curriculum was co-developed by researchers and practitioners with expertise in Calgary's homeless serving community.

Along with the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness and the Alex Health Centre, the CHF actively participated in both the program advisory and steering committee, and also provided $30,000 in scholarships for students. At today's reception, the CHF will announce continued support for the Faculty of Social Work program through funding for a part-time program coordinator and additional scholarships.

Media are welcome to attend the reception. Details are as follows:

Date: Friday June 25, 2010  
     
Time: 6:00 pm Networking Reception
  6:30 pm  Presentations 
  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Networking 
     
Where: Hotel Alma  
  University of Calgary  
  Calgary, Alberta   

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 visit www.calgaryhomeless.com.

Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

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 fsw.ucalgary.ca.