Alberta Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness

Calgary's Plan works amidst escalating pressures of in-migration and lack of affordable housing

November 21, 2014

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Nov. 21, 2014) - The prevalence of homelessness, while not unique to any Canadian city, is impacted by geographic-specific socio/economic factors that affect the number of people experiencing homelessness within each community. This is one of the key observations from the preliminary results of Alberta's first ever province wide Point-In Time Count of Homelessness in Alberta.

Conducted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2014 in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer and on October 15th in The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and October 23rd in Grande Prairie, the provincial count found 6,600 individuals experiencing homelessness in the province. This represents a 16% reduction in homelessness since provincial tally of homelessness from counts held at different times of the year in 2008 in Calgary, Edmonton, Grand Prairie, The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Lethbridge. In 2008, Medicine Hat and Red Deer did not conduct counts.

The count was part of an initiative led by the 7 Cities on Housing & Homelessness (7 Cities) in collaboration with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to develop a harmonized approach to homeless counts nationally.

As in previous years, Calgary's count was funded by Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP through a donation to The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). CHF and its partner agencies and volunteers enumerated 3,531 on the night of the count as compared to 3,533 in January, 2014. Based on the provincial count, Calgary accounts for 54% of the Provincial homeless population, putting greater demand for service on the city than elsewhere in the province.

Unique to Calgary is its high in-migration and lack of affordable housing. Combined, these two factors have put significant stress on all social systems such as health care, policing and transportation as well as the homeless-serving sector. According to the 2014 Civic Census, about 77 people migrated to Calgary every day. While the 2011 National Housing Survey (NHS) reported that approximately 6% of the general population reported moving from outside Calgary within the last year, 18% of the 442 individuals surveyed on the night of the count reported moving to Calgary within the past year.

A Snapshot of Calgary's Homeless Population

A total of 3,531 people were enumerated on the night of the count. Preliminary results show:

  • 50% of those counted were in emergency shelter and 36% were in a short-term housing facility.
  • A further 5% were sleeping rough (in parks, on the street, etc.) and 9% were sheltered in a public system (hospital, jail, etc.).

In addition, the following demographic trends emerged:

  • The gender breakdown for individuals captured in the count was 74% male, 24% female
  • 211 families with 329 children were captured in the count
  • 364 youth were identified
  • 20% of the population identified as Aboriginal

A full report of the provincial data will be released in January.

The Alberta Point-in-Time Homeless Count: Calgary Preliminary Report can be accessed on our website at: www.calgaryhomeless.com.

ABOUT THE CALGARY HOMELESS FOUNDATION

The Calgary Homeless Foundation leads the implementation of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness 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.

Visit www.calgaryhomeless.com.

ABOUT 7 CITIES

Alberta's 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness are the lead organizations responsible for the implementation of local Plans to End Homelessness, working together since 2001. The 7 Cities coordinate local plans at a systems level and align funding resources for greater impact and progress towards ending homelessness.

The 7 Cities provides a forum for dialogue with the federal and provincial representatives on housing and homelessness. The 7 Cities have long-standing histories of delivering strategic planning and service delivery in communities, along with administering and aligning funds, with accountabilities to several provincial or federal funders, including Alberta Human Services and the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

Visit www.7cities.ca.