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Did you know that for every dollar invested, Inn from the Cold creates nearly seven dollars in social and economic value?

Summary by Anne Miller, Constellation Consulting Group

For over 25 years, Inn from the Cold has been helping vulnerable families find stability in times of crisis. As the largest organization in the Calgary region dedicated solely to families experiencing a housing crisis, Inn from the Cold works tirelessly towards building a community where no child or family is homeless.  To bring this vision to life, four programs are available:

  • Homelessness Prevention and Diversion – supporting families to gain or maintain housing and avoid or shorten shelter stays, if possible.
  • Shelter – supporting families in a housing crisis with emergency shelter and transitional shelter.
  • Supportive housing – supporting families in the community in gaining and maintaining community-based housing.
  • Affordable housing – supporting families by providing low-cost housing options with connections to additional supports/resources.

Recognizing the social value created by the Inn’s work, in 2018 a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis was conducted.  This analysis revealed that the Inn created important social and economic value for multiple stakeholders, including families, governments, communities, and landlords. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Inn from the Cold pivoted its services and supports to respond to the changing support context for families.  To understand the value of the changes to the Inn’s work since 2018, in 2023 the SROI analysis was updated by Constellation Consulting Group to capture the value of new programming and new approaches to programming that have been implemented.

The SROI methodology provides a framework for articulating the financial value of social outcomes created through key investments, revealing how much value is created for every dollar invested.  The SROI methodology combines quantitative, qualitative, and participatory research techniques to understand the value of outcomes from different stakeholder perspectives, with the end result being an SROI ratio that compares the cost of investment to the financial value of social outcomes that are achieved. 

The most recent SROI analysis of Inn from the Cold revealed an SROI ratio of 1 : 6.79.  This indicates that, for every dollar invested, Inn from the Cold creates nearly seven dollars in social and economic value.

This value is experienced by multiple stakeholders, including all family members involved with Inn from the Cold programs, various levels of government, landlords, volunteers, students, and communities.   The result demonstrates that investment in the well-being of families experiencing housing crisis generates important social value for our community and its citizens.

While the SROI ratio suggests that significant social and economic value is created by Inn from the Cold’s work, it nevertheless represents a conservative estimate of the total value created as it was not possible to measure and capture the financial value of all potential outcomes for all potential stakeholders.  Further, where estimations were made within the analysis, conservative estimations were taken to ensure the analysis is not at risk of overclaiming.

The above information represents a summary of the SROI, read the full report here 2023 a Social Return on Investment (SROI).