CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 5, 2012) - The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) today released "A Plan, Not a Dream: How to End Homelessness in 10 Years," aiming to start a national movement to end homelessness in Canada. The CAEH will champion an end to homelessness in Canada by mobilizing communities and governments across the country to develop and implement their own 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness (10 Year Plans).
"It's estimated that as many as 300,000 Canadians make their homes in emergency shelters or on the streets," said Alex Himelfarb, Chair of the CAEH Board of Directors. "The challenge may seem daunting but we have seen progress wherever there has been the political will and community engagement. A national solution requires leadership from the federal and provincial governments and grassroots participation.
"We will seek to make progress one community at a time, building on the proven success of communities like Calgary."
Currently, the response to homelessness in most communities focuses on crisis responses like emergency shelters. The 10 Year Plan is a community plan that shifts focus to permanent solutions, specifically housing and support services, and creates a comprehensive system of care that prevents and ends homelessness.
The CAEH will work with communities and engage governments to mobilize resources and make needed policy changes to implement 10 Year Plans in our cities, provinces and territories. The model originated in the US and has been successful in cities across Canada.
"'A Plan, Not a Dream' is a declaration that we, as Canadians, are no longer willing to accept as inevitable the homelessness of any of our neighbours," said Tim Richter, incoming President and Chief Executive Officer of the CAEH. "The 10 Year Plan model has proven successful in reducing homelessness in Canada, and now we are challenging our fellow citizens, communities and all levels of government to take the initiative to end the unnatural disaster of homelessness in Canada, once and for all."
Canadian cities with plans to end homelessness have already seen marked progress. Edmonton has seen a 21 per cent decrease in homelessness from 2008 to 2010 and in Lethbridge, street homelessness has decreased by 53 per cent in the same period. Calgary has gone from having the fastest growing rate of homelessness in Canada to an 11.4 per cent reduction in four years. The Province of Alberta has Canada's first and only provincial commitment and plan to end homelessness.
The CAEH's mandate includes raising awareness about homelessness amongst Canadians, offering tools, knowledge and coaching to communities developing 10 Year Plan, and proactively seeking provincial and federal policy change to support ending homelessness. Please visit www.caeh.ca or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/endinghomelessness.
About the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness has been formed to build a national movement to end homelessness from the community up.
To end homelessness in Canada.
To create a national movement to prevent and end homelessness in Canada through the development of 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness in communities across the country.
Work of the CAEH
The CAEH will have four core activities:
- Raise awareness of homelessness in Canada
- Mobilize communities and government to commit to ending homelessness with 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness
- Provide communities with the information, tools, knowledge and coaching necessary to develop and implement those plans
- Proactively seek provincial and federal policy change to support ending homelessness
A Plan Not a Dream: How to End Homelessness in Ten Years
'A Plan Not a Dream' shows Canadian communities how to end homelessness in ten years by outlining the four core elements and the Ten Essentials in a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness is a Canadian non-profit corporation. It will have a small staff of less than three full time employees with satellite offices in Toronto and Calgary hosted by the Wellesley Institute and the Calgary Homeless Foundation.
Board of Directors
Chair: Alex Himelfarb
Director, Glendon School of Public and International Affairs, York University
Secretary: Stephen Gaetz
Director, Canadian Homelessness Research Network
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, York University
Treasurer: Michael Shapcott
Director, Housing and Innovation, Wellesley Institute
CEO, Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Executive Director, Eva's Initiatives
President and CEO, One Earth Oil and Gas Inc
Principal, Mark Guslits & Associates Inc.
Director, Canadian Housing & Renewal Association
Executive Director, Centre for Northern Families
Département de service social
Université de Sherbrooke
Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull
Chief of Staff, Ottawa Hospital
Strategic Philanthropy Consultant
10 Year Plans to End Homelessness
A 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness is a community based plan that shifts a community's focus from managing homelessness to ending it. The 10 Year Plan model began in the United States by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and was first introduced in Canada in Alberta.
10 Year Plans to End Homelessness are proven to reduce homelessness in Canada:
- Edmonton: 21% decrease from 2008 to 2010
- Fort McMurray: 42% decrease 2008 to 2010
- Lethbridge: 53% street homeless decrease from 2008 to 2010
- Calgary: 11.4% decrease from 2008 to 2012
Research in Canada and the United States has shown homelessness is cheaper to fix than ignore:
- Pomeroy estimated it costs $66,000 to $120,000/person/year for institutional responses to homelessness (e.g. prison, psychiatric hospitals) vs. $13,000 to $18,000 for supportive housing
- Simon Fraser University estimated it costs $55,000/person/year to leave someone homeless in BC vs. housing and support costs of $37,000
- The Calgary Homeless Foundation estimated that on average chronically homeless people consume $134,000/person/year vs. housing and support costs at $10,000 to $25,000/person/year
Homelessness in Canada
Homelessness as an extreme form of poverty and social exclusion characterized by the instability of housing and the inadequacy of income, health care and social supports. This includes people who are absolutely homeless and are living on the streets or in shelters, the 'hidden homeless' who are staying with friends, relatives or in institutional settings, and those 'at risk' of homelessness, whose current economic and housing situation is precarious.
In 2007 the Government of Canada estimated 150,000 Canadians were homeless (in shelters or sleeping rough); other estimates place the number as high as 300,000(1).
There are several reasons why we have homelessness in Canada:
- Federal government budget cuts in the 1990s resulted in deep cuts to provincial transfer payments and the cancellation of the federal affordable housing program.
- Faced with Federal transfer payments cuts and their own debt problems, the provinces were forced to make sweeping cuts in everything from health care to welfare that impacted vulnerable Canadians.
- Provincial reductions in welfare payments not only reduced the amount of support but the number of people that could receive it.
- At the same time, investments in affordable housing stopped or slowed in many provinces. With insufficient affordable housing in the system, vulnerable Canadians were forced to rely on the private rental market. Incomes afforded by social assistance were, and still are, nowhere near sufficient to support private rental housing.
- Further compounding these problems are public systems like child welfare, health care and corrections that can inadvertently contribute to homelessness either by directly discharging people into homelessness or allowing people to fall through the gaps in and between those systems.
- Another major contributing factor to homelessness in Canada is deep poverty, substandard housing and the lingering impact of residential schools on Aboriginal communities in Canada. Aboriginal people are dramatically over-represented among homeless populations in Canadian cities.
On homelessness in Canada:
On Canadian 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness:
On U.S. Plans to End Homelessness:
On the cost of homelessness and cost-benefit of ending homelessness:
On Housing First:
On effectiveness of Housing First:
(1) Gordon Laird, 2007, Shelter: Homelessness in a Growth Economy. The Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership.