After they moved, they spent an
average of just seven days in hospital
during the nine months studied.
“Once people are safely housed and
supported––and those things have to go
together or else the housing is unstable
or isn’t permanent enough––they can
thrive,” Braul says.
Homelessness across Alberta
However, funding is in short supply,
leaving both urban and rural areas
struggling to find a home for everyone.
Rural homelessness is “definitely an
emerging issue,” says Dee Ann Benard,
executive director of the Alberta Rural
Development Network (ARDN), a
non-profit agency comprising nine
home for older adults who have low
incomes; some also have an addiction or
mental illness. If they didn’t live here,
chances are high they’d be homeless.
“It makes me feel so good,” Monroe
says of her one-bedroom apartment. “I’m
But not everyone in need of a home is
so lucky (see sidebar).
“Everyone needs a home,” says Brian
Ladd, a policy analyst in Alberta Health
Services’ Healthy Public Policy unit.
“When we don’t have a place to live that
is safe, in good repair and affordable,
we are more vulnerable to getting sick
or to being injured. So how we choose
to produce and distribute good housing
in Alberta is an important population
And affordable, available housing is
an indicator of a community’s health.
People who are homeless are usually
far less healthy than those who have
secure housing. And those who get by
through couch surfing with friends and
family, or living in overcrowded shelters
or unstable rental situations, also face
greater health risks. Among the risks are
serious physical and mental illnesses,
addiction, assault, unemployment,
hunger and difficulty getting healthcare,
says a 2010 report by the Research
Alliance for Canadian Homelessness,
Housing and Health.
In a healthy community, people
work together to meet the needs and
ensure the dignity of its most vulnerable
members. Making sure everyone is
properly housed requires work on a
number of fronts—not just providing
enough decent places to live, as
important as that is, Ladd says.
“Communities in which everyone is
adequately housed are communities
that have decided that addressing the
root causes of poor housing—such as
chronic poverty, untreated addictions
and mental illness, domestic violence,
and discrimination and racism—is a top
priority for life together.”
A decade ago, Alberta announced
a 10-year, $231-million plan to end
homelessness. The plan paralleled
local commitments by Alberta’s 7
Cities on Housing and Homelessness,
a collaboration of seven organizations
responsible for finding ways to end
homelessness. Municipal governments
and groups across the province launched
thoughtful and bold strategies to put a
roof over the head of everyone in their
Trinity Place Foundation of Alberta is
one of them. The non-profit is a partner
in the RESOLVE campaign––nine social
service agencies that raise money to
provide affordable housing in Calgary.
The foundation also manages Monroe’s
provincially subsidized building.
Spending money to give people who
are homeless a home is money well
spent, says Lawrence Braul, Trinity’s
CEO. Researchers found some residents
of Peter Coyle Place had spent an
average of 127 days in hospital, at a cost
of about $1,000 a day, in the year before
they moved to the residence.
is an indicator of a