Eleven years ago, local community leader and homeless advocate Suzanne West organized a fundraising event to help Calgary’s most vulnerable families.
Called the Steps to End Homelessness, this event was destined to become an annual one that was held on the McHugh Bluff stairs in Crescent Heights on or near the event founder’s birthday. While this year’s event on April 21st has been cancelled, the annual fitness challenge is being planned for next year, when repairs on the community stairs have been completed by the city and COVID-19 is no longer a concern.
Historically, Steps to End Homelessness has been one of Inn from the Cold’s most popular and successful fundraisers managed by a third-party, with thousands of fitness enthusiasts taking part every year. Suzanne West organized the event every year until 2018, when she lost her valiant battle to cancer.
Today, the non-profit organization she founded to pursue her philanthropic efforts, the Power of One Foundation, is now managed by her family. Inn from the Cold has also assumed the role of main event organizer.
While this year’s Steps to End Homelessness has been canceled, the Power of One Foundation has continued to support Inn from the Cold’s mission by providing a financial donation. People who were planning to participate in this year’s event are encouraged to make a financial donation as well. Event supporters can donate online here.
Money raised from these efforts will go towards delivering emergency shelter and supportive housing programs to Calgary’s families facing homeless. About 70 per cent of Inn from the Cold’s annual operating budget is funded by community and corporate donations.
In 2019 Inn from the Cold provided nearly 800 family members emergency shelter and supportive housing. This year, with a likely economic depression brought on by COVID-19 and stubbornly low oil prices, IFTC expects a significant increase in the number of families that contact the organization looking for help.