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Calgary Homeless Foundation

Calgary Homeless Foundation

May 22, 2009 12:08 ET

MEDIA ADVISORY: Calgary's Project Homeless Connect

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 22, 2009) -



What: Homeless and near homeless Calgarians are invited to Project
Homeless Connect (PHC), a one day event where they can obtain
services and supplies in one location. Services provided include
access to housing, medical treatment, mental health services,
income support, employment counselling, aboriginal affairs, and
more. Participants will also receive comfort kits, clothing and
a nutritious lunch.

When: Saturday, May 23, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Petro-Canada Centre, 150 - 6th Avenue SW, Calgary

Background: PHC is presented by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and
sponsored by Petro-Canada.

PHC is a key component of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End
Homelessness. More details available at: www.calgaryhomeless.com


Facts about Project Homeless Connect

Project Homeless Connect in Calgary

- At Project Homeless Connect (PHC), more than 50 different agencies come together under one roof to offer immediate services, support and materials to homeless and at-risk Calgarians. This event occurs through the generous support of Petro-Canada and volunteers, governments, community, social service agencies, and non- and for-profit sectors.

- PHC has helped more than 3,255 Calgarians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing access to services, supports and materials.

- Services and supports include: medical examinations and treatment, counselling, housing, mental health services, income support, new identification documents, job search support and educational opportunities.

- Materials available include: clothing, hot meals, and comfort kits, consisting of items such as soap, underwear and deodorant.

- The next PHC will be on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the Petro-Canada Centre,
150 - 6th Avenue SW, Calgary from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. The remaining two events for 2009 will be held on September 19th and November 21st.

- Four PHC events have been held in Calgary since April 26, 2008, which was the first PHC event held in Canada. Calgary's PHC is based on a model used in more than 170 communities in Canada, Australia and the United States.

- PHC is one of the ways the Calgary Homeless Foundation is moving towards achieving our mission to end homelessness in Calgary in 10 years. PHC is presented by the Calgary Homeless Foundation. Petro-Canada has committed to sponsoring all four PHC events in 2009.

Comments from Previous Calgary Project Homeless Connect Participants

Hundreds of homeless and near homeless Calgarians are helped at each Project Homeless Connect (PHC) event. At PHC, more than 50 different agencies come together under one roof to offer immediate services, support and materials to homeless and at-risk Calgarians. The following are three participant anecdotes from the most recent PHC held on February 28, 2009.

Shelly

Shelly (not her real name), a native Calgarian, has experienced economic difficulty throughout her life. She attended PHC to learn about affordable housing and other available services.

Prior to the last PHC, Shelly became sick and needed to be hospitalized. Without health insurance, she depleted her savings to pay for prescriptions and hospital bills. Unfortunately, she was also laid off from her job and was unable to afford housing.

"I'm going to lose all my things," Shelly explained, since she didn't have the money to store her possessions. She also expressed concern about transportation costs, stating that even public transportation is unaffordable to her. Despite all of her hardships, Shelly has relied on her religious faith to get her through the tough times. "I've never done drugs, and no alcohol," she said.

By attending PHC, Shelly's spirits were lifted, as she was able to receive the help and support she needed. She connected with the CUPS Rapid Exit program, which identified affordable housing and helped her keep her possessions. As she left PHC, she smiled, holding up two bus tickets and exclaimed, "I'll be able to go to church tomorrow!"

Bob

Living at the Drop-In Centre with "300 roommates," Bob is accustomed to waiting in line-ups. So waiting to get a haircut or new ID at PHC in February didn't faze him.

"The lines at PHC are a lot easier and not as stressful. And they're worth being in," said Bob. In comparison, most mornings he has to choose which line-up is most important that day. "When I wake up in the morning, I have to decide if I'd rather wait in line for breakfast or wait in line to possibly get chosen for a temporary job."

Bob has been homeless on and off for the last couple years. The last two times he's found rental accommodations, he has had to move out when the landlords decided to sell the property. At PHC, he was able to get on the affordable housing list after taking a Health and Housing Survey conducted by the Calgary Homeless Foundation. He was able to get new identification, as well as medical and dental check-ups from practitioners who have added him to their patient list.

"PHC has helped me get my foot in the door," Bob said. "This is where the opportunity is."

Vince

Although Vince is working part-time doing renovations, he is homeless. His situation isn't unique. Approximately one fifth of the participants from the February 2009 PHC indicated they were working part-time, and about four fifths of PHC participants reported being homeless.

Vince continues to look for full-time work. After attending PHC in February, Vince was happy to report that he had new identification and a haircut. These are two simple things most people can take for granted but are vital when looking for employment.

"I found everything I needed," he said. When he received help and obtained more information about available resources, Vince felt he would be able to move forward in a specific direction. "It helps having goals," he emphasized.

Calgary Homeless Foundation

PHC is one of the ways the Calgary Homeless Foundation is moving towards achieving our mission to end homelessness in Calgary in 10 years. For more details on the progress of our mission, visit www.calgaryhomeless.com.

The four 2009 Project Homeless Connect events are sponsored by Petro-Canada.

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