Creating lasting Impact

Darkness doesn’t last forever, nothing’s forever… just keep pushing, there’s always another day, there’s always tomorrow. The sun will always come up.

FedumaFormer Inn from the Cold Client

The Impact Of Generosity

Thanks to the generous support of our community, we are able to provide a range of programs and supports to children and families at no cost to the family.

Having a place to call home is essential for families to be able to prosper and thrive. When a family contacts us for help, our priority is to help keep them in their existing home. If theyre already without a home, then we work hard to find them suitable housing as quickly as possible. Families stay in our emergency shelter only as long as its necessary to find them a new home.

Our Approach

Helping families overcome obstacles is challenging. Each familys unique circumstances affect each child and adult differently as well as the family overall. Families come in all sizes and types, which also adds to the complexity in needs. This understanding informs our approach; by working with each family to customize a plan that addresses the familys various needs, while building the skills needed for long-term stability, wellbeing and resilience. In recognition of the diversity of the families we serve, Inn from the Cold also strives to apply a culturally diverse lens and Indigenous worldview to the supports we provide.

Through our programs we focus on the wellness of children, youth, and families to break the cycle of homelessness. Trauma caused by family poverty, conflict, breakdown and abuse are not only contributing factors to child and youth homelessness — but also childhood homelessness itself has been linked as a pathway to chronic and multi-generational homelessness.

For these reasons, supporting the mental, social, and physical wellbeing of families and their children is a priority at Inn from the Cold. We believe we must invest in families with the appropriate programs and supports to lift the most vulnerable out of poverty and housing instability and break the cycle of family homelessness.

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What Is Family Homelessness?

Statistics & Facts

Did you know that on any given day approximately 200 families are experiencing homelessness in Calgary?

When you picture homelessness, you are often drawn to images of people on the streets, but for family homelessness it is seldom to see families sleeping outside. For families experiencing homelessness it can mean they are sleeping in shelters or in temporary accommodation like motels, couch surfing at a friends house, staying with family or even sleeping in a car or recreational vehicle. It can also mean having a home, but being at risk of losing it.

The reality is families can have a roof over their head and still be experiencing homelessness.

Families may fluctuate between these living conditions and the changes and impacts may be very dramatic. Thats because homelessness is not a static state; its a fluid experience. For every family their experience with homelessness is unique. But whats consistent is that every family who is experiencing homelessness is vulnerable and lacks the income and/or supports to stay housed.

Homelessness In Calgary

The need for providing support to families in crisis is greater in Calgary than elsewhere in the province for the following reasons:

  • Calgary has more than 50 per cent of Alberta’s visible homeless population.
  • The Calgary region has been experiencing ongoing economic challenges due to fluctuating energy sector recessions, lack of economic diversification and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Based on historical recessions in Canada, Calgary can expect a lag effect on the rate of homelessness, leading to a protracted demand for housing and social services support.
  • Rates of unemployment and eviction continue to be higher than the national average.
  • The city also has a significant shortage of available affordable housing units, and for families with more than two children, the shortage is especially acute.

Want to Know More?

What leads to family homelessness?

Many people believe homelessness is the result of personal failure. But this couldnt be further from the truth. There is no single cause for experiencing homelessness and the causes of family homelessness are varied and complex. These experiences often arise from systemic issues like poverty, discrimination and economic changes, combined with personal circumstances. The circumstances that can contribute to family homelessness can include unexpected major expenses, sudden injury, serious illness, family violence or breakdown, relationship difficulties, untreated trauma, underemployment, financial losses, and addictions.

Indigenous and visible minority families experience significant systematic barriers, including racial and cultural discrimination that heighten their risk of experiencing homelessness. In light of this, Inn from the Cold strives to apply a culturally diverse lens and Indigenous worldview to the supports we provide.

What is required to end family homelessness?

Homelessness affects some families more than others, such as single mothers and families that are Indigenous, racialized or newcomers. We also know that children who experience homelessness face barriers to access developmental, social and academic opportunities, and experience poorer outcomes as adults. Adults who experience homelessness were often homeless as children. Providing supports to vulnerable families is both intervention (the immediate crisis) and prevention in action (supporting children to a better future).

At a systems level, ending family homelessness requires a continuum of services including:

  • Coordinated assessment and intake for families facing a crisis;
  • Targeted prevention and diversion to keep families from becoming homeless;
  • Short and temporary stay in an emergency shelter;
  • Rapid re-housing programs for families that are ready for independence;
  • Transitional and supportive housing programs for families requiring more intensive supports; and
  • Increased availability of affordable housing in the community, that is appropriately sized for families.

Also, families experiencing homelessness can benefit from access to individualized supports, such as housing-first programs, trauma-informed practices, just-in-time intervention, specialized safety protocols for families experiencing violence and home-based early childhood and parenting supports.

How does Diversion help end the cycle of Homelessness?

We know the best way to end the cycle of homelessness is to divert as many families as possible from experiencing it. Affordable housing is the foundation for effectively and efficiently preventing children from experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Once families have a home, service providers like Inn from the Cold can provide holistic and wrap-around supports, saving the public systems resources and better setting up families for long-term success.

Who does Inn from the Cold help?

At Inn from the Cold, we are all about families! Since 2008, we have transformed the lives of over 4,700 families who had nowhere else to turn.

In any given year we serve approximately 2,000 – 2,500 family members on their journey to find housing independence.

A snapshot of the families we serve in a year typically includes:

  • 60% of families that are single-parent households
  • 55% of families that are Indigenous
  • 15% of families that are newcomers to Canada
  • 60% of the people we serve are children (most under the age of 12 years old)
  • Families that on average have about 2 children

Social Return on Investment

In 2018, Inn from the Cold undertook a Social Return on Investment study to evaluate our shelter and housing operations. While our programs have slightly changed since then, this study found that for every dollar invested in the operation of Inn from the Colds shelter and housing programming, nearly five dollars in social and economic value is created.

As governments seek more cost-efficient ways to support citizens and communities in thriving, the study suggests that investment in the wellbeing of homeless families generates important cost savings and value to multiple stakeholders. Ongoing investment in this type of programming is likely to advance the achievement of positive outcomes and further generate value in our community.

For more information please check out the full report here.

A Year In Review: 2021

693

Total Families Served

107

Families Housed

2,484

Total Family Members

381

Family Members Housed

1,447

Total Children Served

213

Total Children Housed