According to The Homeless Hub’s State of Homeless in Canada 2016:
In the last 10 years, there has been a steady decline in the number of Canadians using shelters.
Alberta’s 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness (7 Cities) have been working together to end homelessness since 2001. Local organizations in each community coordinate the individual Plans to End Homelessness and align funding resources for greater impact and progress towards ending homelessness.
7 Cities includes: Calgary Homeless Foundation, City of Grande Prairie, City of Lethbridge, Homeward Trust Edmonton, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, City of Red Deer, and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
This year was the first that Alberta’s 7 Cities conducted their point in time count on the same day, October 19th. Across Alberta, 5373 people were counted as experiencing homelessness. That number represents a 19.2% decrease in the number of people without a home from 2014 to 2016, and a 31% decrease in homelessness across the province since 2008. Results of the province-wide homeless count include (percentage of homeless total):
In Edmonton, the number of people experiencing street homelessness has decreased by 43% since 2008, when numbers were at an all-time high.
According to the 2016 local homelessness count:
Chronic homeless individuals are those who have been living on the streets, entrenched in that life for more than a year, and now face grave health and safety risks because of their homelessness. This population is among the most vulnerable in our community.
The 2016 Homeless Count found 59% of those experiencing homelessness are chronically homeless.
Housing families at risk became a key priority in 2015. The 2014 Homeless Count identified family homelessness on the rise in Edmonton, and a high number of families were being housed temporarily in hotels and motels, sometimes for months at a time. To address this unsustainable situation, Homeward Trust joined forces with Alberta Human Services.
Fully implemented in April of 2015, the Urgent Families Initiative allowed families’ needs to be addressed quickly via a single, transparent referral process. New or reallocated staff positions were devoted to housing outreach, Intensive Case Management, Rapid Re-Housing, Coordinated Access teams, and frontline support workers.
The goal of the Urgent Families Initiative was to house 100 homeless families. By the end of 2015, the goal was surpassed and 212 families were no longer homeless.
The 2016 Homeless Count found the number of families experiencing homelessness has dropped by 51%.
Homeward Trust released The Community Strategy to End Youth Homelessness in Edmonton in June 2015. This report originated from Homeward Trust’s work with youth-serving agencies around the Winter Emergency Response program in 2014. Homeless youth faced serious gaps at the systems level and disconnects at the community level, forcing them to use programs and services not designed for their needs. As winter approached, it was vital to ensure the most vulnerable youth could access services and be guided to towards permanent housing.