Inn from the Cold is Alberta’s only no barrier Emergency Family Shelter, based in Calgary, Alberta. We have seen an unprecedented growth in the need for our services over the past five years. Our Emergency Family Shelter has operated at or over capacity more than 90% of the time since 2013.
We are hopeful that the federal government’s Let’s Talk Housing Initiative will result in a Canada where all citizens have access to safe, suitable, secure and affordable housing. We fully support the six (6) recommendations put forth by the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) regarding the National Housing Strategy.
In addition, we have a seventh recommendation, not contained within the CHF proposal. We know two things:
- Families are the fastest growing demographic impacted by homelessness.
- Homeless children and their families have very different experiences and needs than single homeless populations.
Based on these two facts, we recommend the following:
- Comprehensive research into the experience and needs of homeless children and their families is required in order to best serve the needs of this population.
- Children and families experiencing homelessness need to be considered a distinct population (as Indigenous households are considered in recommendation six) and partnering, reinvesting and building capacity for homeless children and families is necessary.
- With respect to recommendations to increase rental and social housing stocks available, it is important to note that families’ requirements include: access to three to four bedroom affordable units, access to public transportation, access to education, food security and poverty-serving community supports.
- A deep look into diversion and prevention programming is critical for at-risk children and families.
We are pleased to see the federal government is taking action and encouraging input from Canadians in order to develop a National Housing Strategy that works for all Canadians.
Michael Guyette, Executive Director
Inn from the Cold
Click here to read the Calgary Homeless Foundation’s National Housing Strategy Brief.