Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ten year plan on homelessness released

The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness has released its 10-year Plan. While we might quibble with a few points (why not a stronger stance in favour of legalizing secondary suites across the city, for example?), this is strong, solid work. Moving dollars away from the shelter program and into Housing First is smart, proven policy. Given Chair Steve Snyder's appointment to the Alberta Homeless Secretariat, we can bet he has the ear of the province in these pre-election days. We may see some real leadership on this file yet.


Bob McInnis said...

While I don't see specific details that I was looking for, I agree that the plan has solid ground. I urge all BCC readers to copy the promises to their desktop and hold the committee and Secretariat accountable to the reduction and construction numbers. I will request a print copy of the report as soon as I finish chwing my own words.
I am feeling encouraged.

Bob McInnis said...

January 29, 2008

Dear friends,

On behalf of the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness it’s my pleasure to let you know that Calgary’s 10Year Plan to End Homelessness is now publicly available on our website at www.endinghomelessness.ca.

The plan is a result of a full year’s work that included a series of public consultations, a community summit and countless hours of research that drew on the knowledge and experience of local front-line service providers, as well as best practices from across North America. It contains practical solutions and rewards personal accountability and initiative, helping individuals move to independence and ensuring the appropriate support and care. It will also result in a net cost savings to taxpayers.

The plan has set ambitions targets including:
• the elimination of family homelessness within two years;
• the retirement of 50 percent of Calgary’s emergency shelter beds within five years;
• an 85 percent reduction in the chronic homeless population within five years and the complete elimination of chronic homelessness in seven years;
• a reduction in the maximum average stay in emergency shelters to less than seven days by the end of 2018.

In the short term, the plan aims to create rapid, visible and meaningful change by focusing on chronic homelessness and prevention. In the longer term, the plan calls for the creation of 11,250 affordable and specialized housing units over the next decade and proposes major systemic changes that will eliminate barriers that currently entrench homelessness.

The guiding philosophy of the plan is a proven concept called “Housing First,” which puts the highest priority on moving homeless people into permanent housing with the necessary supports and services required to sustain them.

In addition, Calgary’s 10Year Plan is an economically efficient approach to ensure every person in Calgary has access to affordable, safe and appropriate housing within a supportive community. If we continue with the status quo, over the next 10 years our projections suggest taxpayers could spend more than $9 billion in direct and indirect spending – and be left with a problem potentially five times worse than it is today.

But by implementing this 10-Year Plan we believe we can end homelessness and save taxpayers as much as $3.6 billion.

In closing, I’d like to personally thank you for your interest and participation in the creation of this plan. Because of the involvement and caring of so many people like you, we have a solid plan based on a proven model backed by the right people. We look forward to your continued involvement as we take the first step in ending homelessness – for good.

Yours truly,

Stephen G. Snyder
Chair, Calgary Committee to End Homelessness