Calgary Homeless Foundation Directs $8.5 Million to Agencies Supporting Homeless Families

April 12, 2013

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 12, 2013) - In the next 12 months, the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) will provide $8.5 million in funding to support families at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Calgary. In line with Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, families, and in particular children, are better served by preventing homelessness or by moving them into housing with support rather than into emergency shelter space.

From April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, CHF funding to the Inn from the Cold consisted of $1.1 million to emergency shelter, and over $650,000 for housing with support programs and prevention outreach. A portion of the prevention outreach funding was not used. Additional funding for housing with support programs has been offered in the current year.

"There is indeed a continuum of housing, which includes emergency shelter; however the pattern over time at the Inn from the Cold has been to lean more toward emergency sheltering rather than preventing families from becoming homeless or moving families into available Housing First programs," said John Rook, President and CEO, Calgary Homeless Foundation.

Funding for the family sector goes to six agencies, which provide space for 34 families in emergency shelters and for 410 families to receive housing with support. The CHF also funds $750,000 to prevent families at risk from becoming homeless. The CHF is aware of at least 50 spaces for families in housing programs currently available in Calgary. A formal letter was sent to Inn from the Cold months ago urging them to make more referrals to other agencies.

"Our experience over the past five years in Calgary has shown that when agencies are willing to work together and coordinate services, their clients get faster and more effective help to address their homelessness," said Rook.

According to the August 2012 point-in-time count, of the 3,576 people counted homeless, there were 126 families without housing. Estimating four people per family, families represent about 13% of Calgary's homeless population. However, the CHF funds about 24% of its total budget to family-serving agencies. This represents the CHF's commitment to help families, which include vulnerable children, and the fact that it is challenging to find affordable housing in Calgary right now.

CHF is committed to working with Inn from the Cold to find long-term housing solutions for families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Communication was sent this week to the Inn from the Cold and Human Services which included recommendations to increase referrals to other agencies with capacity, to provide additional funding for Inn from the Cold's Housing First program and to better use prevention program funding so families can stay with family and friends while housing is located.

In the near term, the CHF asked the family-serving sector to meet to discuss solutions and the CHF has spoken to another family agency and Alberta Works who will help families in need of immediate access to emergency shelter as we work through to solutions.

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.