Recently, the government of Canada invited Canadians to submit their ideas and stories regarding poverty and poverty reduction in Canada. While poverty is not always about homelessness, homelessness always stems from poverty.
Child and family homelessness has been cited as increasing faster than any other segment of the population experiencing homelessness in Canada. In Canada, 10% of Canadian families live below the low-income cut-off while 14% of Canadian children live in poverty. The 2014 Point-in-Time Count of homelessness in Calgary found 200 families experiencing homelessness on the night of the Count. While poverty is not always about homelessness, homelessness always stems from poverty.
Inn from the Cold Society (the Inn) supports the federal government’s development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy that is beneficial to all Canadians, especially the most vulnerable. Access to the supports and services that will improve their economic well-being will help reduce homelessness and poverty and build stronger, healthier families and communities.
From November 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017, Inn from the cold, Alberta’s only 24/7 no-barrier family emergency shelter, provided emergency shelter, sanctuary and healing to 148 families, representing a total of 213 adults and 257 children. Beyond emergency shelter, these children and their families needed supports that ranged from help with access to affordable housing, security deposits and income supports to early assistance to access employment training, education and help with paying outstanding legal fines, utility arrears and security deposits.
Inn from the Cold provides children and families experiencing housing crisis safe shelter, sanctuary and healing. Our focus is on stabilizing families in crisis, identifying and assessing needs and linking them to essential resources, supports and moving them from shelter to housing as quickly as possible. Our vision is to end child and family homelessness by building pathways to sustainable living in community for the children and families who come to our doors. A Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy is vital to ensuring we end child and family homelessness.
Inn from the Cold believes that for a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy to be effective for Canada’s vulnerable children and families, it must:
- Expand/modify the Working Income Tax Benefit to further benefit Canadians and further incent workforce attachment.
- Enhance Employment Insurance coverage to address precarious work and reduce inequality.
- Include the provision for the development of public and non-profit child care services available to all families.
- Be culturally inclusive of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
To read the full text of our submission, please click Poverty reduction strategy.
 Source: Raising the Roof. Facts & Figures http://www.raisingtheroof.org/for-media/facts-figures/