universities and colleges whose goal is tosupport and improve rural communities.
The ARDN estimates about 40 per centof people who are homeless in Edmontonand Calgary are from rural Alberta.
Rural dwellers who are homelessare most commonly found in touristtowns such as Banff and Jasper, aroundresource-based communities such as FortMcMurray and near Indigenous People'slands, Benard says.
Alberta is a national leader in itsefforts to end homelessness, says TheState of Homelessness in Canada 2016,a report produced by the CanadianObservatory on Homelessness. Thereport notes Alberta was the firstprovince to make a commitment to endhomelessness. A 2014 count showed a 15per cent drop in homelessness across theprovince since 2008.
However, as noted in the report,
“despite early progress, the province
is unlikely to meet its goal to end
homelessness by 2019, in part due to the
Clearly, it will take more than 10 years
to wipe out homelessness. To that end,
the 2016 Alberta budget committed $892
million for affordable housing.
Plus, Canada has adopted some solidways to provide housing. One of themis the housing first model, developed 25years ago in the United States.
In the past, people were expected
to treat the conditions that led to their
homelessness, such as mental illness or
addictions, before they were helped with
lodging. But with housing first, as the
name suggests, people are housed first.
Then, from the stability and safety of ahome, they can begin to work on theirroot problems.
Medicine Hat is a shining example of
the success of the housing first approach.
In 2009, the city of 63,000 set out toend homelessness by 2015. It has sincehoused and supported 1,150 people.Today it has a wait-list of two people.
The city’s goal was to make sure noone slept rough (on the street) or in anemergency shelter for more than 10days before getting stable housing andsupports.
“We looked at our homeless-serving
system as a whole,” says Jaime Rogers,
a manager with the Medicine Hat
Community Housing Society. “We
looked at how we integrate with shelters,
and the emergency room, and people
Monroe is certainly happy she’s been
able to avoid those hazards, thanks to
subsidization of her Calgary home.
“It’s just all-around good,” she says,
grabbing her walker and heading for her
warm and comfortable suite.|a
A 2016 one-day count by Alberta’s 7 Citieson Housing and Homelessness ( 7 Cities)found 5,367 people were homeless, mostof them in Calgary ( 3,222) and Edmonton( 1,636). This was the second such counttaken in urban areas provincewide. Thefirst was in 2014, when 7 Cities found
6,663 of people were without a home.
The 7 Cities on Housing and
•;Calgary Homeless Foundation
•;City of Grande Prairie
•;City of Lethbridge
•;Homeward Trust Edmonton
•;Medicine Hat Community Housing
•;City of Red Deer
•;Regional Municipality of Wood
Before that, with help from the province,
7 Cities collectively housed and supported
9,451 people between 2009 and 2014,
taking a big bite out of homelessness,
says a report by the Calgary Homeless
Foundation. A 2014 count showed a 15
per cent drop in homelessness across the
province since 2008.
The Alberta Rural Development Network(ARDN) estimates that of the province’s 1. 3million rural population, as many as 26,000people are without a stable home at somepoint.
The ARDN’s estimate is for a whole yearand covers the homelessness spectrum. Itincludes hidden homelessness: everythingfrom people sleeping rough (on streets),to people couch surfing, staying in unsafeplaces, and sleeping in cars and tents.