Calgary Homeless Foundation: Government of Alberta Funding Drives Record 10 Year Plan Results

An Update on the First Quarter of Fiscal 2010-2011 April 1 - June 30, 2010

September 02, 2010

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 2, 2010) - During the first quarter of fiscal 2010/2011, nearly 350 people receiving affordable housing and support services under Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.

"This is an outstanding start to the year and a record quarter for the 10 Year Plan," said Tim Richter, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) President and CEO. "We're beginning to see the full impact of funding provided by the Government of Alberta as programs started last year hit their stride."

"If we maintain this pace through the year, we're on track to house more than 1,300 men, women and children."

Other notable progress in the first quarter include the CHF purchasing two properties for singles, couples and families in April and starting renovations five existing properties.

Q1 Performance Toward Fiscal 2010/2011 Priorities

Table 1

Number of people housed (received affordable housing)  
Year to date 341
Quarterly 341
Number of people served(assisted within an emergency shelter or provided with support services in CHF funded programs) These are new people served/ intakes in this quarter.
Year to date 880
Quarterly 880

Note: Numbers served do not include NeighbourLink Calgary as they are revising their database to allow them to report only on new clients served.

Table 2

Priority populations - Q1 progress Housed Served
Chronic and episodically homeless 205 175 individuals, 2 families
Families with children 57 212
Youth (young people up to age 24) 34 98
Aboriginal peoples 75 215

Note: Table 2 shows distribution of services by priority population. Table 2 totals do not add to Table 1 because people can be in more than one category (e.g., Aboriginal Family with Children).

Key deliverables   Q1 progress (qualitative)
Redouble efforts to end family homelessness   Six family services agencies developed a coordinated system of care for families. The goal is to shorten the length of stay in emergency shelters and prevent families from becoming homeless. Increased communication between programs is streamlining families' access to emergency shelters and ensuring wrap-around support and services.
Prioritize investment to address chronic and episodic homelessness   The CHF began funding an encampment/outreach strategy led by Alpha House and CUPS to serve 50 individuals. As well, a high-intensity case management project at Alpha House was developed to serve 50 clients prioritized through the Re-housing, Triage and Assessment survey. The CHF continued to invest in Pathways to Housing and HomeBase at the Alex Community Health Centre.
Apply new knowledge to enhance prevention efforts   Experience from the United Kingdom and outcomes from Family Diversion projects in Calgary are advancing prevention efforts, specifically around diverting people at risk of homelessness from needing to access emergency shelters. This knowledge is guiding the development of a city-wide prevention case management program model.
Build a Homeless Information Management System (HMIS)   More than 25 Calgary agencies agreed to participate in HMIS, leveraging experience from cities in the U.S. who already have an HMIS in place. In Q2, software selection will be made and training will begin.
Develop affordable housing for those with the greatest barriers to housing   The CHF purchased two properties, adding 53 units of affordable housing for singles, couples and families. In addition, significant renovations are in progress on CHF's housing portfolio.
Align federal Homeless Partnering Strategy funding in Calgary to 10 Year Plan   An RFP process will begin in the second quarter to align HPS funding with Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.
Complete a three-year review and update the 10 Year Plan   Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was developed in 2007 and implementation began in 2008. The CHF is working with stakeholders to update the Plan based on experience to date and the current environment. The updated Plan will be released in January 2011.

 

Indicators of success   Q1 progress
Reduce year-over-year emergency shelter use by 5% (which means about 100 fewer HUA-funded emergency shelter spaces used)   During the first quarter, Calgary HUA-funded shelters reported a decreased rate of use compared with the same quarter in 2009. June 2010 was the ninth consecutive month of a decreased rate of utilization, representing a decrease of 3.2% year-over-year.
Retire 150 HUA-funded emergency shelter beds   The CHF began working with the Salvation Army on a plan to convert emergency shelter beds into affordable housing.
Reduce the average length of stay in family homeless shelters to 14 days and reduce year-over-year family shelter use   Homeless families currently stay in an emergency shelter about three weeks before moving to permanent housing. The goal is reduce this time to two weeks over the next few years and then seven days or less by 2018. Critical to achieving this goal is introducing a HMIS.
Achieve 85% one-year housing retention rate at CHF-funded housing programs   CHF-funded housing programs continued to achieve an 85% or greater housing retention rate based on follow up with individuals and families at three, six, nine and 12-month intervals.

Q1 HIGHLIGHTS

Programs and innovations

During the first quarter, the CHF funded an Alpha House program to provide housing and support for homeless clients of the Calgary Police Service / Alberta Health Services Police and Crisis Team. This program will also partner with Calgary By-Law Enforcement to re-house and support rough sleepers currently living in encampments around the city.

The CHF continues to engage community outreach and mainstream city service providers in the city-wide use and coordination of the Rehousing Triage & Assessment Survey (RTAS). Most recently, Calgary Transit was engaged to help identify and engage the most vulnerable, street homeless populations in services and support.

June 2010 saw the graduation of the first class of the Homeless Service Provider certificate program at the University of Calgary. This program, the first of its kind in North America, was designed to enhance the skills of those working in the homelessness serving sector. Along with the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness and the Alex Community Health Centre, the CHF participated in the program advisory and steering committee and provided $30,000 in scholarships for students.

Advocacy

As the Government of Alberta conducted Alberta Health Act consultations, the CHF recommended the critical role of stable housing be recognized in the principles of the Act and that measures be put in place to implement this priority throughout the continuum of health care services. Specific recommendations included:

    implementing zero discharge into homelessness policies and protocols in the Act and the regulations;
    funding multidisciplinary teams of health providers, income support personnel and housing locators;
    developing consistent and streamlined homelessness risk assessment and triage processes;
    prioritizing the creation and maintenance of a range of supported housing facilities;
    creating a streamlined point of entry to housing, mental health and addiction programs; and
    ensuring the Alberta Health Act prioritizes collaboration to achieve health and housing outcomes across departments and ministries.

Research

The Homelessness Asset & Risk Tool (HART) was awarded funding by the Canadian Institute for Health Research through the REACH3 initiative. The University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work submitted the ethics review proposal and awaits a final decision in order to begin data collection. Testing will confirm the HART's reliability for predicting homelessness in individual and families.

The City of Calgary and the CHF analysed new data on at risk Calgarians from 2006 and 2009 to identify patterns of homelessness risk and resilience. The findings indicated a higher number of Calgarians who used shelters in 2009, but the same prevalence as 2006.

In May, the CHF began an ethnographic study of informal labour focused on panhandling and binning, with a final report with recommendations expected in September.

Working with the Alex Community Health Centre, an acuity assessment tool was developed and tested to help determine the level of service intensity needed by clients. The tool will be shared with Calgary service providers.

As partners in the Alberta Research Consortium on Homelessness, the CHF, University of Calgary and the University of Alberta were awarded a Metropolis research grant to undertake analysis from data across seven Alberta cities on newcomers and homelessness.

Housing

In April 2010, the CHF purchased two properties. The first is a 26-unit apartment building in Bowness, which is intended for singles, couples and families. The building was purchased with funding from the Government of Alberta and a private donation. The second building was a 27-unit apartment building in Bankview intended for singles, couples and families. The building was purchased with funding from the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, private donations and financing. Both buildings are managed by Fireside Property Group.

At the same time, the CHF began extensive renovations at its properties in Sunalta, Acadia, Bowness, Bridgeland and Bankview. The total renovations budget for these properties is $1.8 million with projects to be substantially completed by year-end 2010.

At the end of the first quarter, there were no vacancies with the exception of units undergoing renovations.

Communications and fund development

In May 2010, the CHF held its ninth Project Homeless Connect (PHC), a one-day event where homeless or near-homeless individuals and families are provided with services and supplies in one location. More than 700 Calgarians participated, bringing the total attendees to almost 7,000. For the first time at a PHC, the CHF matched four homeless families and six individuals with affordable housing units. The next PHC is on November 20, 2010.

Also in May, the Government of Alberta announced its homeless grant program will fund 10 Calgary-based organizations to develop 297 additional housing units for the homeless. Some of these units will be constructed, while others will be purchased. A total of 433 housing units for Calgary's homeless are being supported, for a total investment by the Alberta government in the Calgary area of more than $47 million. 

Governance

On June 18, 2010, the CHF held its Annual General Meeting. The Board thanked outgoing Directors Anna Greenwood-Lee, Arnold Jerry, Dr. Kabir Jivraj, Bonnie Jones and Meredith Milne and welcomed new Directors Cameron Bailey, Barry Davidson, David Gregory and Craig Hill. Efforts to recruit a Director from the Aboriginal community continued.

Operations

Aligned with progress to introduce HMIS, the CHF is developing an evaluation framework for "Housing First" projects. The purpose of this framework is to:

    capture the information needed for the CHF to continue to steward Calgary's "Housing First" system;
    offer fair measurement of programs, aligning investment with projects that benefit homeless consumers the most; and
    ensure program capacity exists to meet the needs of Calgarians at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Financials

Quarter ended June 30, 2010 ($)   Total   Detail
Total revenues   7,887,790   1,132,179 operating 6,755,611 project
Expenses   5,255,672   980,071 operating 4,275,601 project
Excess (deficiency) of revenues over expenses   2,632,118   152,108 operating 2,480,010 project

Cash decreased $5.1 million during the first quarter ending June 30, 2010 compared with the prior quarter due to significant project expenditures and the purchase of real estate property for which cash had been received. This decrease in cash was offset by the receipt of project funding during the quarter. Deposits in trust for real estate acquisitions declined by $300,000, as deposits held for conditionally purchased properties at March 31, 2010 were either completed or terminated at June 30, 2010.

Revenues generated during the first quarter of fiscal 2011 increased compared with the same quarter in fiscal 2010 due to receipt of cash for project expenditures, including the purchase of real property and flow-through project funding. Project disbursements rose during the first quarter of fiscal 2011 compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2010 due to higher activity in flow through funding to various homeless serving agencies. Operating expenses rose marginally in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2010 due to increased staff count and operations to support the CHF as the federal and provincial funder.

Operating activities used $1.9 million of cash as a result of project payments which were accrued for at March 31, 2010. Investing activities used $7.1 million of cash resulting from the purchase of two properties for affordable housing. Financing activities generated $1.2 million in cash due to a draw on the First Calgary Savings line of credit. This amount is due in April 2011.

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. Calgarians wishing to contribute by making donations or volunteering are encouraged to visit the CHF website: www.calgaryhomeless.com.