By: Janice Chan, Nick Falvo and Victoria Ballance
Janice Chan is a System Planner with CHF, Nick Falvo PhD is the Director of Research and Data at CHF and Victoria Ballance is the VP Stakeholder Engagement
The following blog post is a condensed version of Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy Submission. You can read the full submission here.
Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) supports the federal government’s development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. We eagerly anticipate a Strategy that reflects the need to ensure all Canadians, especially those most vulnerable, have access to the supports and services that will improve their economic well-being.
While poverty is not always about homelessness, homelessness is always about poverty. Calgary remains the epicentre of homelessness in Alberta, with 3,222 individuals enumerated in the 2016 province-wide Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness held in October. Calgary represents 60% of the provincial homeless population, but just 29% of the province’s total population. As a community, Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness (2015), identifies 15,600 Calgarian households in extreme core housing need. These households spend over 50% of their income on shelter and have incomes less than $20,000 per year, placing them at high risk of homelessness.
Targets as identified in Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness are:
• 100% of those experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness will be housed;
• 35% of households at risk or experiencing transitional homelessness will be stabilized;
• The average length of stay in adult singles emergency shelters will be reduced 60% to 10 days and in family homelessness emergency shelters to 14 days; and
• The total number of people experiencing homelessness enumerated in the Homeless Point-In-Time Count will be reduced by 70%.
We believe that a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy can help prevent homelessness and help people exit homelessness.
The below recommendations discuss poverty-related factors that have a major impact on preventing homelessness. We recommend that the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy:
1. Double the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB).
2. Enhance Employment Insurance (EI) coverage.
3. Develop public and non-profit child care services available to all families.
4. Be done in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
For more information read each of these points read here.
Looking for ways to share your opinions and find out more information?
Social Development Canada is inviting you to join the conversation and participate in online consultation until June 30th, share your story, and follow along on social media! Find out more details here.
Participate in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Youth Contest (ages 12-24) to share ideas on poverty reduction going on until August 14, 2017. Find out contest details here.
Visit Social Development Canada’s Facebook page, watch a video of their online town hall meeting on Monday, June 5, 2017, and learn more about national initiatives to reduce poverty.