CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 12, 2011) - Today, the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) and 21 local organizations celebrated the launch of the first-ever, city-wide Plan to End Youth Homelessness (Youth Plan) in Canada.
"I was homeless for a couple of years -- living on the streets and on my friends' couches, not knowing where and when my next meal was going to come from," said Sven Frohasdorf, who was rehoused with support by the Calgary John Howard Society. "Now I have a safe place to call home and the chance to go to work every day. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel."
"When I was homeless I was confused and didn't know what to do," said David Rhoads. "Now that I am housed and working, I feel independent, which I never felt before."
It is believed there are as many as 2,000 individuals up to 24 years old who do not have a permanent residence in Calgary. These numbers are likely low because youth homelessness is often hidden, with young people couch surfing and sleeping outside.
"We must make preventing and ending youth homelessness a priority because these young people are extremely vulnerable," said Tim Richter, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation.
The goal of the Youth Plan is that by January 29, 2018 the maximum average stay in an emergency shelter will be reduced to less than seven days, at which point any young person will be moved into a safe, decent, affordable home with the support needed to sustain it. The strategies to reach this goal include:
- increasing the coordination and collaboration among agencies and organizations working with youth experiencing homelessness;
- providing adequate housing for youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness; and
- gaining a better understanding of youth homelessness and influencing government policies needed to end youth homelessness.
The drafting and implementation of the Youth Plan is a multi-stakeholder, community-based effort reflecting the knowledge of the Youth Sector of the Community Action Committee. This group provides a coordinated and centralized source of expertise, knowledge, resources, referrals, supports and advocacy on issues related to youth homelessness and youth at risk. The Youth Plan also incorporates local and global research and best practices on youth homelessness. The following organizations are integral to the Youth Sector and Youth Plan.
- Alberta Children and Youth Services
- Alberta Health Services
- Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness
- Aspen Family & Community Network Society
- Boys and Girls Club of Calgary
- Calgary Homeless Foundation
- Calgary John Howard Society
- Calgary Police Services
- Calgary Sexual Health Centre
- Calgary Youth Offenders Centre
- Canadian Red Cross
- Catholic Family Services
- Children's Legal and Educational Resource Centre
- City of Calgary, Community & Neighbourhood Services
- Community Action Committee
- Hull Child and Family Services
- McMan Youth, Family and Community Services
- The Alex Youth Health Centre
- United Way of Calgary and Area
- Wood's Homes
- Youth Criminal Defence Office
As well, community groups such as the TELUS Calgary Community Board, a philanthropic granting board, invested $20,000 in this project and will invest $500,000 in community youth projects this year.
"It has never been more vital than it is today for at-risk youth to have access to safe and affordable housing," said Ken King, Chair of the TELUS Calgary Community Board. "The TELUS Calgary Community Board is proud to partner with the Calgary Homeless Foundation and youth-serving agencies across Calgary on this city-wide collaborative effort to end youth homelessness. I believe this, along with the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, positions Calgary as a leader in effectively dealing with the complexities surrounding this issue."
To view the Youth Plan, click here or visit calgaryhomeless.com.
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: calgaryhomeless.com.