Calgary Marks 3rd Anniversary of 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness

"Outstanding progress" cited as focus turns to system reform in update to 10 Year Plan released today

January 28, 2011

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2011) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo and video associated with this press release.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) marked the third anniversary of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness (10 Year Plan) with community and government partners today. At an event held at noon, the CHF celebrated success in the first three years and released an update to the 10 Year Plan (view video).

"We've made outstanding progress in the first three years," said Tim Richter, President and CEO of the CHF. "The next three years will be all about building on that success and improving the coordination and effectiveness of the homeless serving system."

The updated 10 Year Plan contains some minor course corrections and spells out in more detail the focus of the next three years, including plans for structural changes to the homeless-serving system and an ambitious goal to close gaps in public systems like health care, corrections and children's services that unintentionally contribute to homelessness.

"We've been blessed with a very supportive provincial government that remains the only provincial government in Canada to commit itself to ending homelessness," said Richter. "In many ways, Calgary's 10 Year Plan helped kick off a quiet revolution in social policy in Alberta, which shows the huge impact a community-based initiative can have."

"Over the next three years, we're going to continue to challenge and support our provincial partners to keep making the changes necessary to not only end homelessness, but to save Alberta taxpayers millions, if not billions of dollars."

The first three years of the 10 Year Plan were focused on creating rapid, visible and meaningful change in Calgary's response to homelessness. Highlights include:

  • A shift in three years from Calgary having the fastest growing homeless population in Canada to stabilized emergency shelter use, despite a recession.
  • New Housing First programs helping to house and support 2,000 men, women and children
  • Several local, provincial and national 'firsts' including:
    • building the first Homeless Management Information System in Canada;
    • initiating the first Project Homeless Connect in Alberta;
    • applying Housing First to youth and to those experiencing domestic violence;
    • drafting the first Plan to End Youth Homelessness;
    • implementing case management standards for agencies working with those at risk of or experiencing homelessness;
    • building the Homelessness Asset and Risk Tool to predict and prevent homelessness;
    • assembling a research network and agenda to end homelessness;
    • engaging the private sector in the 10 Year Plan through funding and leveraging skills; and
    • developing a tool to assess the risk of mortality and thus prioritize those most vulnerable.

Calgary's 10 Year Plan was first published on January 29, 2008, at a time when the city had Canada's fastest growing population of people experiencing homelessness. A multi-stakeholder, community-based group of leaders from the public and private sectors, the faith community and non-profit agencies decided Calgary needed to shift its thinking from managing homelessness to ending it.

The 10 Year Plan targets an end to homelessness by January 29, 2018. Ending homelessness means that an individual or family will stay in an emergency shelter or sleep outside for no longer than one week before moving into a safe, decent and affordable home with the support needed to sustain it.

Changes in the updated 10 Year Plan released today include:

  • a plan to build a homeless-serving system focused on ending homelessness;
  • an increased emphasis on homelessness prevention and reform of public systems that contribute to homelessness;
  • a refocused housing strategy that concentrates limited resources on housing for those in greatest need;
  • added attention to the unique needs of vulnerable subpopulations, including youth, women, families and Aboriginal Peoples;
  • combining the prevention and re-housing strategies in the original 10 Year Plan; and
  • beginning a process to transition to community leadership and planning for long-term sustainability of success.

Eleven other Canadian cities have drafted 10 Year Plans, and momentum is building across the country to create a Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness modelled on the National Alliance to End Homelessness in the United States.

The 10 Year Plan model continues to be successful in more than 300 communities across the United States. The model is based on Housing First, where people experiencing homelessness are quickly moved into appropriate housing where they can begin to work on the issues that contributed to their homelessness from the stability and safety of a home. Research demonstrates that it costs less to provide appropriate housing and support to a person at risk of or experiencing homelessness compared with providing short-term and ongoing emergency and institutional responses.

The Calgary Homeless Foundation leads the implementation of 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.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please see the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20110128-128CHF_800.jpg

To view the video associated with this press release, please see the following link: http://vimeo.com/19299389