A Former Guest’s Story:
My name is Heather* and I would like to share my story about how Inn from the Cold prevented me from becoming homeless with a five-month old baby.
I’d recently graduated from Mount Royal University, putting myself through a two-year program while working full time. In the same week I finished school, I found out that my contract with my current employer wasn’t going to be renewed and, I was expecting a baby. I found a short-term contract position until my 8th month of pregnancy. I liked my new job. It was challenging and rewarding, but temporary. Three months into the contract, major health complications placed me on bed-rest for the duration of my pregnancy – I would be forced to leave work 5 months early, with next to no income. I went from being worry-free to making less than 1/3 of my income. After my rent was paid, only $300 was left for groceries, transportation, bills, and incidentals.
My landlord agreed to give me a few extra days to pay my rent. After days of trying to access some emergency help, I was nowhere ahead and knew an eviction notice was imminent. I was given the option to move by January 14th or face an additional $600 in court fees to be physically removed. I chose to leave.
I had no money and didn’t know where to turn. I started calling women’s shelters and everything was full. I was told to call the Inn from the Cold because they would, at the very least, have an emergency bed. This is where life turned around. I met with Jonathon from the Homelessness Prevention Program on January 10th. Maneuvering through the emergency aid system can be daunting at best and, with only a few days, it seemed impossible. We came up with a plan and prepared for a worst-case scenario. Jonathon was encouraging but direct: our situation was critical.
With a little bit of luck, some hard work and Jonathon’s advocacy skills, Inn from the Cold helped to pay my rent arrears, and my little boy and I were able to stay in our home. All of this happened within four days. Without the Outreach Program, I can’t even begin to imagine where we might be. This program works. It works for people that have had life get in the way.
Thank you for letting me share my story.
*Names changed to protect privacy
Inn from the Cold (IFTC) has been transforming families’ lives in the Calgary region since 1997. We have provided
emergency shelter since the late 1990s, initially through a network of community inns, mostly located in the basements
of places of worship. In 2008, we created a permanent and centralized shelter on 11th Avenue SE. Since then, we have
provided emergency shelter to more than 3,240 families, an average of 270 families every year. IFTC is dedicated
exclusively to serving families struggling to overcome the barriers of homelessness.
We offer homeless diversion and prevention services, emergency shelter when needed, and supportive housing to all
families in need. We believe in keeping families together, helping them with their journey out of homelessness. With
over 20 years of experience, IFTC has a strong understanding of supporting vulnerable children and their families in
stabilizing and moving forward to achieve their long-term goals.
Families served: 460
Family members served: 1611
Children served: 967
Families housed: 131
Family members housed: 438
Children housed: 246
Our most critical programs include:
Emergency Family Shelter: Our main emergency shelter is located downtown, and our satellite shelter
is located in Crescent Heights. Our shelters are a safe place for children and their families to stay as
they rebuild their lives. Here, they receive food, shelter, clothing, and comprehensive supports to help
them overcome the barriers of homelessness and achieve independence.
Homeless Diversion and Prevention: This program is held out of our downtown shelter and our satellite
shelter and addresses the needs of families experiencing a temporary housing crisis by helping them
stay in their existing home or attain other available permanent housing as soon as possible. IFTC’s Case
Managers work with the families as a whole and with individual members to develop a personalized plan
based on their unique needs. The Case Managers also assist the families in a variety of areas, including
connecting them to one-time financial help, coordinating counselling or legal guidance and advice,
delivering coordinated supports with our community partners, and arranging emergency shelter if
Child and Youth Development (CYD): Managed out of both our downtown shelter and satellite shelter,
this program is designed as an early intervention and prevention strategy. The onsite activities,
educational programming, one-on-one youth connection sessions, and more have many benefits and
positive outcomes to help the children and youth staying with us overcome the intergenerational cycle
Adaptive Case Management (ACM): This program is offered offsite in the family’s home and is an
intensive and enhanced assessment process that allows Family Case Managers to identify family needs.
Our ACM team works with the families in our care to help them set goals and connect to community
resources, such as educational facilities, immigration services, addiction treatment programs, mental
health support, job training assistance, and housing subsidies.
Housing with Intensive Supports (HIS): This program is offered offsite in the family’s home and is for
families exhibiting a complexity of needs. Each family is assigned a HIS Case Worker who provides
support that is adapted to fit their unique circumstances, helping them to set goals, build relationships,
navigate the system, and more. The Case Worker also provides general moral support and advocates
for the family.
“Volunteering to serve suppers and lunches at Inn From The Cold has made my daughters learn that homelessness can happen to anyone and homeless people aren’t different. My children enjoy serving the food, working in the kitchen, and most of all talking to the kids at the shelter.” – Lisa B., Volunteer
There are many ways for you to get involved to support the Inn!
Volunteer! We have many volunteer opportunities for you or your group to get involved in, some of which include:
Check out more of our Volunteer Opportunities to decide what is the best fit for you!
Donate! Your support truly makes a positive impact on the lives of the children and families that stay with us. We humbly and gratefully thank you for your partnership. Please click here if you would like to donate.
Other Ways to Support the Inn: