Dr. John Rook firmly believes homelessness and poverty can be ended with proper policies and programs. His passion to resolve these issues comes from his childhood growing up in a very functional but poor family in Ontario.
As the President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, Dr. Rook is responsible for overseeing implementation of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in Calgary (10 Year Plan). The CHF works with non-profit agencies, all levels of government, the faith community, the private sector and people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The goal of the 10 Year Plan is that by January 2018 an individual or family will stay in an emergency shelter or sleep outside for no more than one week before moving into a safe, decent, affordable home with the support needed to sustain this housing. In the first four years of the 10 Year Plan, more than 4,000 people have receiving housing and support.
Over the past eight years, Dr. Rook has led non-profit agencies working on the front-lines to provide housing and support to those at risk of and experiencing homelessness. Dr. Rook was the Chief Executive Officer of Potential Place and the Co-Executive Director of The Alex Community Health Centre. From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Rook was the Chief Executive Officer of The Salvation Army Community Services. In these roles, he was responsible for children and family services, addictions recovery, affordable housing and emergency shelter.
Dr. Rook also has more than 15 years teaching at universities and colleges across Canada. He was an Adjunct Faculty Member of the University of Calgary since 2008 and an associate professor at McMaster University, and taught at Booth University College and Ambrose University College. Related to his current work, he has taught in the areas of poverty, mental illness and homelessness.
Dr. Rook brought this wealth of experience and knowledge to his role as the Chair and President of the National Council of Welfare from 2007 to 2012. The Council was an arms-length body to the federal government which made recommendations to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada on poverty issues affecting all Canadians.
After university degrees in literature, psychology and divinity, Dr. Rook completed a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He and his wife, Kim, have five children. In his spare time, Dr. Rook enjoys running road races.