Homelessness is a complex issue that affects individuals and families from all walks of life. Families with children are the fastest-growing population experiencing homelessness, which is particularly challenging as it impacts the well-being and development of children. In Calgary, family homelessness is often linked to poverty and a lack of affordable housing, with rising rental rates and stagnant wages contributing to this issue. Many families live paycheck to paycheck, and any unexpected expenses or changes in circumstances can lead to housing instability and homelessness.
Affordable housing is the foundation for effective ending family homelessness and in Calgary, at least 15,000 affordable housing units are needed in Calgary to meet existing needs.
At Inn from the Cold, we follow a housing-first philosophy that prioritizes assisting families in retaining their current homes whenever possible. If a family needs housing, our dedicated team works tirelessly to find them a suitable home as soon as possible. Our emergency shelter is a temporary solution, accommodating families in need until a more permanent solution is found.
We recognize that children and families experiencing homelessness may face numerous challenges. As such, we provide a comprehensive array of programs along the housing continuum, offering tailored support and case management to address their individual needs and set them up for long-term success. Our team collaborates with partner agencies to provide coordinated and holistic support to families’ mental, physical, and social well-being to set them up for long-term success.
It is crucial to acknowledge that some families are more vulnerable to experiencing homelessness than others. Single mothers and families that are Indigenous, racialized, or newcomers are at a higher risk of homelessness and are often over-represented in homelessness statistics. We strive to better understand the needs of families who seek our help by collecting meaningful data, sharing insights with our funding partners, and advocating for improved services and policy solutions. Through advocacy and communication efforts, together with sector partners, we aim to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and reduce stigma, ultimately working towards creating a brighter future for families in need.
We understand that ending family homelessness is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. It requires a coordinated effort at all levels, from policy-making to service delivery. By providing a continuum of services and individualized support, we can intervene in immediate crises and prevent them from occurring in the future. By working together, we can ensure every family has a safe and stable place to call home.
You might be asking yourself, what are some things you can do to help end family homelessness? Here are a few quick suggestions on how you can make a difference.
- Advocate Government representatives at all levels to adequately fund organizations working in the homeless serving sector and fund affordable housing initiatives.
- Voice your support for affordable housing initiatives proposed in your community.
- Consider donating or volunteering your time to one of the great non-profit organizations that support families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
It will take a collective effort of the community to move the needle on homelessness, but we believe that, together, we can end family homelessness.