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Calgary Homeless Foundation –2017 Pre-Budget Submission

Posted February 10th, 2017

Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), has advocated for the inclusion of more funding to end homelessness in Budget 2017. Calgary is the epicentre of homelessness in Alberta with 60% of the provincial homeless population while only 29% of the province’s total population (calculated from the 2016 province wide Point-in-Time Count). Furthermore, Calgary has the least affordable housing in the country for the lowest quintile of income earners [1].

Since 2008, CHF has partnered with agencies to provide homes with program supports for over 8,000 people exiting homelessness, with 91% of people successfully staying housed.

As housing first advocates and the System Planner for Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, we recommend for Budget 2017 to:

  1. Increase funding for homelessness.

We recommend that the 40% increase in annual federal funding for homelessness (i.e., HPS) announced in Budget 2016, be made permanent. Long term supports for the most vulnerable Canadians are essential for housing stability. There are substantial savings with the provision of supportive housing. It is important that we make a permanent investment to reduce future costs associated with homelessness [2].

  1. Increase funding for purpose-built affordable housing.

We recommend the government to make permanent the recent doubling of current funding for the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) announced in Budget 2016. We also recommend that the government signal its commitment to leveraging innovative community investment by contributing $40 million to the RESOLVE Campaign, which is raising $120 million to build affordable rental homes for 3,000 vulnerable Calgarians.

3. Establish a permanent national housing and homelessness round-table.

We recommend that a national round-table on homelessness and housing be established to advise and make recommendations to the Government of Canada on a regular basis. Ensuring large system planners, such as CHF, have a voice at the table will provide leadership and evidence-based decision making capabilities responsive to the geographical and socio-economic needs of communities across the country.

4. Make federal and provincial homelessness funding coordinated, consistent and transparent.

We recommend that the Federal Government, under a new national round-table on homelessness, establish a working group of stakeholders to review and report on possible areas of improvement in aligning federal and provincial funding. Some areas for consideration include:

  • alignment of program and capital funding between different levels of ministries of government; and
  • shared outcomes, evaluative measures and reporting requirements for provincial and federal homelessness funding.

Budget 2017 represents an opportunity for every Canadian to contribute to the economic and social prosperity of our country. We encourage you and/or your organization to submit a letter to your MP as well as to Finance Minister, Bill Morneau.

Federal MP email addresses can be found at the Government of Canada website HERE.

For Minister Morneau:  Bill.Morneau@parl.gc.ca

If you don’t know the name of your MP, you can search for their name via your postal code, HERE.

[1] Ron Kneebone and Margarita Wilkins (2016). School of Public Policy, SPP Research Papers, volume 9, issue 21, Shrinking the need for homeless shelter spaces.  Calgary, AB: University of Calgary.

[2] The At Home/Chez Soi Report demonstrated that for the 10% of participants who were using the most services upon enrolment, every $1 invested in housing and professional support during the course of the study resulted in average savings of just over $2. And across all study participants, every $1 invested in housing and professional support resulted in $0.75 in savings on health, justice-related and social services. Paula Goering, Scott Veldhuizen, Aimee Watson, Carol Adair, Brianna Kopp, Eric Latimer, Geoff Nelson, Eric MacNaughton, David Streiner & Tim Aubry (2014). National At Home/Chez Soi Final Report. Calgary, AB: Mental Health Commission of Canada. Retrieved from: http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca

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