Calgary Homeless Foundation

Calgary Homeless Foundation

November 26, 2010 18:24 ET

Community Makes Solid Progress to Provide Housing and Support to Most Vulnerable Calgarians

An Update on the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2010-2011

July 1- SEPTEMBER 30, 2010

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 26, 2010) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo and video associated with this press release.

Over the last six months, homeless-serving agencies housed nearly 750 of the most vulnerable Calgarians, including people who are frequently homeless, families with children, young people up to 24 years old and Aboriginal peoples. In the same period, agencies provided support services to nearly 3,200 individuals in these same vulnerable populations.

"With limited resources, we need to focus our efforts on those most in need," said Tim Richter, Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) President and CEO. "Not only are vulnerable homeless Calgarians least able to overcome their unique situations, but they also are the highest users of the systems. With customized and innovative programs we can help these individuals and families be successful over the long term with affordable housing and support."

Second Quarter and Year to Date Performance toward Fiscal 2010/2011 Priorities
Table 1
Number of people housed (received affordable housing)  
  Second quarter1 369
  Year to date 710
Number of people served2(supported by CHF-funded programs)  
  Second quarter 2,698
  Year to date3 5,741
  1. During the second quarter, the calculation of the number of people housed changed to include McMan Hope Homes for youth, Hope Homes Aboriginal, Calgary Alternative Support Services and the Universal Rehabilitation Service Agency.
  2. The number served includes NeighbourLink Calgary.
  3. The number of people being served in the first quarter was restated from 880 to 3,043 people due to the inclusion of Neighbourlink Calgary, Servants Anonymous, Aspen(Families in Transition) and the Canadian Red Cross as a result of refining terminology.
Table 21
Priority populations - Q1 progress Housed Served2
Chronic and episodically homeless    
  Second quarter 218 256
  Year to date3 4204 412
Families with children    
  Second quarter 56 490
  Year to date5 112 970
Youth (young people up to age 24)    
  Second quarter 26 175
  Year to date6 61 371
Aboriginal peoples    
  Second quarter 79 496
  Year to date7,8 155 839
  1. Table 2 shows distribution of services by priority population.Table 2 totals do not add to Table 1 totals because people can be in more than one category.
  2. Programs that provide services that do not include housing are under 'Served.' Programs that provide housing are under 'Housed.'
  3. The number of chronically and episodically homeless people housed in the first quarter was restated from 205 to 202 and the number servedwas restated from 175 individuals and two families to 156 individuals.
  4. The number for 'chronic and episodically homeless' is comprised of 264 single adults and 156 adults from families. Due to definitions of the terms 'chronic' and 'episodic,' the singles number could be up to 5% lower than estimated and the families number could be up to 40% lower than estimated. The implementation of the Homeless Management Information System will significantly improve the quality of data received and reported.
  5. The number of families housed in the first quarter was restated from 57 to 56 and the number served was restated from 212 to 480. The implementation of the Homeless Management Information System will significantly improve the quality of data received and reported.
  6. The number of youth housed in the first quarter was restated from 34 to 35 and the number served was restated from 98 to 196.
  7. The number of Aboriginal peoples housed in the first quarter was restated from 75 to 76 and the number served was restated from 215 to 343.
  8. The Aboriginal numbers only include adults except in the case of NeighbourLink data, which includes children and adults.
Key deliverables Q2 progress(qualitative)
Redouble efforts to end family homelessness Family-serving agencies continued to work on a coordinated system of care, including beginning to align prevention efforts and establish common intake processes. The goal is to shorten the length of stay in emergency shelters and prevent families from becoming homeless.
Prioritize investment to address chronic and episodic homelessness Year to date results for those housed and served provide evidence that most vulnerable populations are being prioritized. Case management programs are being developed to support the rehousing of chronically and episodically homeless women. A project to provide case management support and housing to the most vulnerable leaving addictions treatment, Keys to Recovery, was launched. The CHF is working with agencies on the 2010/11 winter response plan.
Apply new knowledge to enhance prevention efforts A floating case management support system is being developed to prevent families who are most at risk of becoming homeless. The project will be awarded in the third quarter. The CHF continues to work on a Youth Plan to End Homelessness.
Build a Homeless Information Management System (HMIS) Bowman Systems ServicePoint was chosen to be the software supplier for HMIS. HMIS policies and procedures are being established, including data sets, ethics, privacy, security and reporting. Twenty-eight agencies will pilot HMIS in January and February 2011. The project was intentionally pushed ahead two months and remains on budget.
Develop affordable housing for those with the greatest barriers to housing The CHF has a $1.8 million renovation program on five properties in progress. As well, CHF applied for Government of Alberta grants in the 2010/11 RFP process for an additional 200 units.
Align federal Homeless Partnering Strategy funding in Calgary to 10 Year Plan A Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding through the federal Homeless Partnering Strategy was released in the quarter, subject to the Government of Canada confirming this funding will continue.
Complete a three-year review and update the 10 Year Plan Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was developed in 2007 and implementation began in 2008. The CHF is working with stakeholders to update the Plan based on experience to date and the current environment. The updated Plan will be released in early 2011.
Indicators of success Q2 progress
Reduce year-over-year emergency shelter use by 5% (which means about 100 fewer HUA-funded emergency shelter spaces used) During the second quarter, Calgary Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) funded shelters reported stabilized occupancy levels compared with the same quarter in 2009. The months of July and August were the ninth and tenth consecutive months of a decreased rate of use (-3.7%). September 2010 saw a marginal increase compared with September 2009 (4.4%).
Retire 150 HUA-funded emergency shelter beds The CHF began working with the Salvation Army on a plan to convert emergency shelter beds into affordable housing.
Reduce the average length of stay in family homeless shelters to 14 days and reduce year-over-year family shelter use On average, homeless families currently stay in an emergency shelter about three weeks before moving to permanent housing. The goal is reduce this time to two weeks over the next few years and then seven days or less by 2018. Critical to achieving this goal is introducing a HMIS, which will provide a clearer picture of system use, monitoring and outcomes.
Achieve 85% one-year housing retention rate at CHF-funded housing programs CHF-funded housing programs continued to achieve an 85% or greater housing retention rate based on follow up with individuals and families at three, six, nine and 12-month intervals.


  • New program houses and supports people completing addictions treatment
  • Software supplier, Bowman Systems, chosen for Calgary HMIS
  • Progress made on $1.8 million renovation program within CHF housing portfolio
  • Community volunteers build new playground at affordable housing complex for families
  • Process to align Homeless Partnering Strategy10 Year Plan to End Homelessness underway.

Programs and innovations

A unique program focused on preventing homelessness, called "Keys to Recovery" was introduced during the summer to re-house and support 75 individuals who would otherwise have been homeless upon completing substance abuse and addictions treatment. The CHF and HUA will contribute $785,000 to this program which will be led by Fresh Start Recovery Centre. The program will be implemented by nine agencies serving Calgarians with addictions, including Aventa, Calgary Dream Centre, Sunrise Native Addictions Services, Alpha House, Servants Anonymous, Oxford House, Recovery Acres, Youville Recovery Residence for Women and Fresh Start Recovery Centre. Participants will be determined based on those currently in addiction treatment centres who are most vulnerable and who have no fixed address upon treatment conclusion. The program housed 15 individuals in August and September, and intends to house 12 individuals per month until the end of March 2011, for a total of 75 clients. The program will ramp up in 2011 and 2012 to re-house 100 individuals each year. Housing will be scattered throughout the city, with case support being provided by Keys to Recovery.

The CHF funded a new Wood's Homes project, called New Horizon, to permanently house eight highly vulnerable youth (18 to 24 years of age) with support to match their needs. The youth who will be targeted are living in shelters, sleeping on the street or leaving the child welfare system without the skills and resources to live independently. The one-year project will cost about $250,000 and is funded through the Government of Alberta's Service Delivery Plan. Youth will receive furnished apartments, with regular access to support workers who customize plans and goals to help young people transition to independent living. Young people with complex social and mental health issues will have access to necessary services and support as long as needed.

The CHF funded a program with Aspen Family Services to provide a community outreach and housing stability specialist to support residents of Acadia Place. This position would provide ongoing support and connection to resources to ensure families have access to resources needed to maintain their housing. 


During the second quarter, Alberta Health and Wellness released a two-part report, Putting People First. The report was the result of lengthy consultations, including recommendations by the CHF that stable housing is critical in the continuum of health care services. The report recognized the need to address homelessness as part of a comprehensive redesign of our health care system. The report also emphasized the need for inter-governmental cooperation, the expansion of community based care, and the need for strategies to relieve strain on our health system. 

The CHF believes in innovative tax and regulatory measures to incent businesses to develop more affordable housing for low income Canadians. To this end, the CHF supported a paper prepared by Marion Steele, an expert in tax policy and housing, and Ron Kneebone, Director at The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. The paper recommended that a low income housing tax credit should be developed in Canada modelled after one developed in the U.S. in 1986. The CHF also supports changes to income tax law to increase tax incentives for the rental sector to develop affordable housing.


On August 31, 2010, the CHF hosted a research symposium to generate discussion on how to update Calgary's 3 Year Research Agenda. Topics during the symposium included patterns of homelessness, risks and assets for homelessness prevention, youth homelessness, Aboriginal homelessness, representations of homelessness and future research on homelessness in Calgary.

The CHF is implementing a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which is an electronic system to collect consistent information about Calgary's homeless population and coordinate the homeless-serving sector in providing services. During the second quarter, a request for proposal process resulted in a software provider with the best product and price being chosen. An HMIS Advisory Committee, made up of members of Calgary's homeless serving sector, developed the selection process and criteria. The Committee unanimously recommended Bowman Systems as the preferred vendor based on participant feedback, analysis of the vendors' ability to meet functional requirements and overall cost. The next critical milestone is to begin implementation with over 25 homeless-serving agencies in early 2011.

The CHF commissioned an ethnographic research study on panhandling and binning (bottle picking) in Calgary from May to August 2010. The study found that panhandling is decreasing, while binning is increasing in Calgary. The researcher observed more than 244 binners, compared with only a small number of panhandlers, approximately 30, remaining active in Calgary.

In September 2010, The University of Calgary's Faculty of Social Work received ethics approval to begin data collection to test the Homelessness Asset & Risk Tool (HART). Testing will confirm whether the HART tool is a reliable way to predict homelessness in individuals and families.


The CHF continued to implement a $1.8 million renovation program at its properties in Sunalta, Acadia Place, Bowness, Bridgeland and Bankview. These renovations will be substantially completed by year-end 2010.

The CHF partnered with Horizon Housing Society to provide property management services and co-ordination of referring agencies at Acadia Place. These services include working with referring agencies on unit allocation and client referrals and supports. Fireside Property Group provides property management services at the CHF'sBridgeland, Bankview and Bowness properties and the CHF works with a number of social services agencies who provide referrals and client supports. At the end of the second quarter, there were no vacancies, with the exception of units undergoing renovations.

As a non-profit organization that provides low-income housing options for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, the CHF must house people with low incomes and/or people who are in homeless situations. To this end, CHF is working to determine if tenants who lived in the properties when these were purchased qualify to continue to reside in these building at the end of their lease term and/or if rents need to be adjusted. Tenants are asked to provide proof of their present income which will enable the CHF to determine eligibility for housing and a manageable rent rate according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation standards. If tenants no longer qualify to live in CHF properties after their leases expire, the CHF will work them to ensure a respectful and fair transition.

The CHF participated in the provincial government's 2010/11 request for proposals for one-time grants from HUA. The CHF applied for a minimum of 200 new units to house homeless and at-risk individuals and families in Calgary. These units would provide safe, modest, affordable, low-barrier and permanent housing based on the Housing First principles of the provincial Plan for Alberta: Ending Homelessness in 10 Years and Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. The application was made up of acquisition and renovations of a minimum of 150 permanent housing units and a pilot project for permanent supportive housing for hard-to-house, chronically homeless individuals.

Communications and fund development

In September, more than 250 volunteers from The Home Depot Canada, the CHF and the Calgary community worked with non-profit organization KaBOOM! to build a new playground at CHF's family affordable housing complex in Acadia. The playground and family recreational area will be an important part of Acadia Place, a 58-unit affordable housing complex in southeast Calgary. With two-and three-bedroom suites and close proximity to schools and public transit, the complex is ideal for families. It was acquired by the CHF in 2009 using a $6 million grant from the Government of Alberta and $500,000 from The City of Calgary. The playground was made possible by a $65,000 grant from The Home Depot Canada Foundation and a $7,500 contribution from the CHF.

The CHF would like to recognize Cushman and Wakefield Ltd., who raised nearly $17,000 for the CHF at its 2010 Charity Golf Classic. In addition, Good News Radio and Bruce Sheasby generously supported the CHF at The Elvis Gospel Tribute concert in September 2010.


The Board of Directors oversees five committees: the Audit Committee, Governance Committee, Human Resources Committee, Community and Stakeholder Relations Committee, and the Investment and Fund Development Committee. The former three committees are new and will be chaired by Brian O'Leary, Stephen Clark and Stephanie Felesky, respectively. During the quarter, the CHF Board of Directors welcomed Amal Remu as a new Director.


The CHF has administered Government of Canada funding through the Homeless Partnering Strategy (HPS) since 2009. In 2010/11, this accounted for approximately $4.69 million. To date, this funding was based on the 2006 Calgary Community Plan. The CHF has begun a transition to align this funding in 2011/12 to Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. Impacted agencies were advised of this transition in December 2009 and an open competition process began in September 2010. The Community Action Committee (CAC) is serving as the nomination panel, reviewing proposals and making funding recommendations. The CHF has outlined and implemented a request for proposal process, which will see successful applicants notified in December 2010 based on available HPS funding.

Quarter ended Sept 30, 2010 ($)   Total   Detail
Total revenues   19,696,350   2,343,582 operating 17,352,767 project
Expenses   6,008,005   1,090,165 operating 4,917,840 project
Excess (deficiency) of revenues over expenses   13,688,345   1,253,417 operating 12,434,840project
Year to date (ending Sept 30, 2010) ($) Total
Total revenues 27,584,139
Expenses 11,263,676
Excess (deficiency) of revenues over expenses 16,320,463

Cash increased $13.1 million during the second quarter ending September 30, 2010 compared with the prior quarter due to the receipt of annual project and operating grant funding from the Government of Alberta. This increase in cash was offset by project funds delivered to agencies and expenditures related to renovations at properties held for affordable housing during the second quarter. Deposits in trust for real estate acquisitions declined by $300,000 as of September 30, 2010 as compared to March 31, 2010 because no properties were under conditional purchase at quarter end. Cash balances in the first six months ending September 30, 2010 were $4.5 million higher compared with the same period ending September 30, 2009. This was due to timing of cash flows and increased funding from the Province of Alberta.

Revenues generated during the second quarter of fiscal 2011 increased compared with the same quarter in fiscal 2010 due to the timing of receiving government funding. Project disbursements rose during the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2010 because more projects were in place. Operating expenses decreased in the second quarter of fiscal 2011 compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2010 due to lower professional fees. Revenues generated in the first six months ending September 30, 2010 rose compared with the same period ending September 30, 2009, due to increased funding from the government and the timing of these payments.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2011, operating activities generated $13.1 million of cash as a result of receiving government funding. Investing and financing activities during the same period were not material. For the six months ending September 30, 2011, operating activities generated $13.8 million of cash, investing activities used $7.1 million and financing activities generated $1.3 million.

Calgary Homeless Foundation

The Calgary Homeless Foundation leads the implementation of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. Issued in January 2008, Calgary's 10 Year Plan was created by the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, a community-based, multi-stakeholder, leadership group who issued the Plan and selected the CHF to implement the Plan. The CHF is moving forward on Calgary's 10 Year Plan in partnership with the many homeless serving agencies, the private sector, our government partners, the faith community, other foundations and all Calgarians to end homelessness in Calgary once and for all. Calgarians wishing to contribute by making donations or volunteering are encouraged to visit the CHF website:

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