Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF)
Our Story Why We Exist
Since 2008, when Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness was launched, the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) and its partner agencies in the homeless-serving sector have worked together to bring Calgarians home. Since the launch of the plan, almost 7,000 people have been housed with essential supports to help them thrive in our communities.
This past November, 29 families experiencing homelessness in Calgary would have gone another Christmas without a home if it weren’t for CHF and six partner service agencies working with the Calgary Residential Rental Association (CRRA) and several Calgary landlords. Instead, these families moved into a home of their home through a campaign called “Hope for the Holidays, Celebrate the Season at Homes.” This campaign has been specifically designed to permanently house families chronically living on Calgary’s streets or in shelters.
- “Home provides kids with that sense of security, that sense of belonging,” shares Dustin, a client recently housed through Calgary's Plan to End Homelessness with his two young children. "Now…we walk down the street and we come up to our building and we can actually say: Oh, we’re home. The home is everything to a child, right, just like it’s everything to you. Home is like, the foundation of your family.”
This is just one example of how our community, our homeless-serving agencies and CHF are making a big impact in our fight to end homelessness in Calgary.
There is still much work to be done. We know that close to 16,000 Calgarians are at risk of homelessness. We know we need to house an additional 3,200 people to ensure those experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness do not remain trapped with no way home. And, we know, we cannot do it alone.
Our Impact What We Do
The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) is the system planner for Calgary’s homeless-serving system of care. It acts as the backbone organization that oversees implementation of Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness along with agencies, businesses, governments, the faith community, donors and all Calgarians. The goal is to develop a more effective homeless-serving system that will end homelessness.
- Vision: Together we will end homelessness in Calgary
- Mission: By providing leadership in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care ensuring it meets the needs of those who are homeless
In 2007, following year-over-year increases in the homeless count in Calgary, a committee of concerned citizens (Calgary Committee to End Homelessness) joined with the Calgary Homeless Foundation and homeless-serving sector agencies as well as community partners to develop a plan to end homelessness. CHF was appointed as the lead implementer of The Plan to provided concrete directions to address the following:
- Historical bi-annual 30% growth rate in homelessness between 1992 and 2008
- Anticipated 10,000 Calgarians expected to be homeless by 2015
- Cumulative economic costs of emergency shelter management systems estimated at more than $9 billion over 10 years.
Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness has resulted in:
- Almost 7,000 people being provided permanent housing with supports since 2008
- A 15% decrease in homelessness in Calgary per 100,000 population since January 2008
- Positive outcomes for vulnerable Albertans
- Social and economic cost savings to city and province. (An analysis of one-year of housing for 72 individuals with complex needs showed annual cost savings of approximately $2.5 million)
Our Programs How We Do It
The Calgary Homeless Foundation is a catalyst and enabler for Systems and Service Agencies to optimize client success. CHF focuses on four strategic pillars of work; Research and Development, Community Mobilization, Funder of Outcomes and Impact, and Advance Public and Political Will.
In 2016, our goals as the backbone organization for Calgary's homeless-serving sector are to:
- Scale up the System of Care to meet the needs and priorities of Calgary’s Homeless Serving Sector. This is essential to create a more streamlined and integrated System of Care to better assess individual and family needs and to provide multiple access points for housing and supports.
- Implement plans to address gaps in the System of Care. The benefit being the creation of a more integrated and harmonized system of care that is inclusive of systems and agencies working within and outside the homeless-serving sector.
- Identity and obtain funding from a broader range of sources within and outside of Government. The impact is greater community engagement in the responsibility of ending homelessness through financial supports toward desired outcomes.
- Strengthen and enhance organizational support for the homeless-serving sector. It is essential to support all of the agencies and deepen all of our relationships within the sector.
- Influence community strategy to achieve the housing priority directions of Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness. This will allow for an integrated housing strategy that embeds the needs of the homeless-serving sector within the broader building/rental market community.
- Improve quality of Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data and increase scope of Shelter data analysis. This will give us greater capacity to respond to emerging trends within the sector, and implement change.
- Bring affordable and Permanent Supportive Housing on-stream. The impact of this work is the increased capacity within the system of care to respond to client needs and fulfill on Key actions outlined in Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Every Calgarian has a role in ending homelessness. In Calgary’s updated Plan to End Homelessness released in March of this year, 14 Key Actions were identified that directly impact our success in ending homelessness. Action 14, Empower Calgarians in the movement to end homelessness, invites every Calgarian to take action and get involved. Here are a few suggestions:
- Understand the issues. Visit calgaryhomeless.com for more information and ihearthomeyyc.com for an explanation of the Plan to End Homelessness
- Support calgary's most vulnerable by giving to the Calgary Homeless Foundation or to the RESOLVE Campaign
- Donate your time, clothing or food to any of Calgary's homeless serving agencies.
- Volunteer your time or host a fundraiser on our behalf. Please contact the Director of Development for more information - refer to CONTACT in our upper right column.
- Smile and be kind. Acknowledge those experiencing homelessness; make sure to smile, say hello and don’t be afraid to start a conversation when the opportunity presents itself