Homelessness: from crisis management to ending the disgrace

January 30, 2008

Leading US advocate for homeless praised The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness’ 10-year plan business plan’s innovation, measurable benchmarks, field-tested, evidence-based & modeled on best practices in US cities which house homeless families, provide supported housing and treatment for homeless who suffer from mental illness and addictions.

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The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness unveiled its 10-year plan, “outlining the hundreds of millions of government dollars success will cost, as well as the projected $3.6 billion in eventual savings. The plan, developed by a committee 2007-2008, includes targets such as reducing the number of emergency shelter beds by half within five years, eliminating family homelessness within two years and chronic homelessness within seven, and creating more than 11,000 affordable housing units, including secondary suites and student housing [. . .] The Calgary committee has already launched two pilot projects it believes will put roofs over the heads of at least 100 people over the next year . . . A New York program is the model for Pathways to Housing, which finds supported housing for people with mental illness or addictions and then focuses on treatment. Hennepin County’s Rapid Exit program is being copied by CUPS as it matches homeless families and landlords, finding a place to live for at least six families in its first month (Guttormson 2008).”

My questions: How did structural changes over the last twenty years change the face of homelessness? When did the Canadian federal government download responsibilities regarding public health services including mental health to the provinces and the provinces to municipalities? What are the current demographic studies of the homeless, the proportion who are urban Inuit and First Nations? women? immigrants? children? families? mentally ill? relationship between mental illness and substance abuse?

Folksonomies or tag cloud

Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, Steve Snyder, Calgary’s housing prices are seriously unaffordable, Phillip Mangano, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, homeless, 10-year plan, crisis-management, end the disgrace, innovative ideas, business plan, measurable benchmarks, innovative ideas, municipalities, field-tested, evidence-based, Pathways to Housing, Rapid Exit, best practice, Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, 10-year-plan, emergency shelter beds, homeless families, supported housing, mental illness, addictions, chronic homeless population,

Timeline

2006 3,400 people in Calgary, Alberta were considered homeless, that is, living without permanent shelter (Guttormson 2008).

2007 The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness launched two pilot projects Pathways to Housing and Rapid Exit in 2007 which are anticipated to put roofs over the heads of at least 100 people in 2008 (Guttormson 2008).

2008-01-28 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008 pegged Calgary’s housing prices as “seriously unaffordable.”

2008-01-29 The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness unveiled its 10-year plan, outlining the hundreds of millions of government dollars success will cost, as well as the projected $3.6 billion in eventual savings (Guttormson 2008).

2010 According to the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness’ 10-year plan (2008-2018) officials hope to stabilize the homeless population at the 2006 numbers 3,400) and to eliminate family homelessness by 2010.

2013 Calgary Committee to End Homelessness 10-Year Plan promises to reduce the number of emergency shelter beds by half within five years (Guttormson 2008).

Who’s Who?

Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) is “a not-for-profit community health centre in Calgary’s downtown core. Offering collaborative and holistic services in the areas of health care, education and social services, CUPS Community Health Centre helps people make the transition from poverty to stability. Founded on the principle that all people have an inherent right to lead a life of dignity, equality and respect, CUPS is a safe, warm and welcoming environment free of judgment and rejection (CUPS website ).” CUPS is actively engaged in combatting poverty and homelessness in Calgary. They have inaugurated a pilot project which matches homeless families and landlords, finding a place to live for at least six families in its first month is modelled on the US Hennepin County’s Rapid Exit program.

Cox, Wendell a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and Hugh Pavletich, a property investment manager in New Zealand produced the survey entitled

Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008.

Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s senior fellow Wendell Cox and Hugh Pavletich, a property investment manager in New Zealand produced the survey entitled

Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2008.

Kim Guttormson is a journalist with the Calgary Herald which is part of the CanWest group.

Pathways to Housing, which finds supported housing for people with mental illness or addictions and then focuses on treatment is modelled on the successful New York program (Guttormson 2008).

Phillip Mangano is executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and a leading advocate for the homeless, who praised Calgary’s 10-year plan for ending homelessness. Mangano claimed that, “If this plan is implemented the way it is written, you will see in the next few years the number of people on the street, the number of people long-term in shelters, begin to be reduced. Calgary has decided to stop managing the crisis and begin ending the disgrace.” Mangano is confident that Calgary’s “bold and innovative” strategy will accomplish the plan’s ambitious goals. “Mangano, who has read Calgary’s report, calls it impressive and says it has the key components of successful plans in other cities — it’s based on a business plan, it has measurable benchmarks and it uses innovative ideas from other municipalities. “Calgary has done a very good job of uncovering the innovative ideas that are already field-tested and evidence-based, they’re already working somewhere else,” said Mangano, who has worked with more than 300 plans south of the border. “So you know if you invest in them, they’re going to work there (Guttormson 2008).”

Steve Snyder is chairman of the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness. Snyder explained how this plan differs from past approaches where money was “thrown at the homeless issue” in that there is nothing in this plan that is pie-in-the-sky. In order to break the cycle of homelessness the committee studied best practice models in American cities where ten-year plans developed since 2003 have proven successful. “New York has closed a 1,004-bed shelter, Portland reduced its chronic homeless population by 70 per cent, Denver saw its chronic numbers drop 36 per cent and Hennepin County in Minnesota recorded a 43 per cent decrease in homeless families (Guttormson 2008).”

U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

Webliography and Bibliography

Guttormson, Kim. 2008. “U.S. advocate for homeless raves about Calgary plan: City lauded for decision to start ending ‘disgrace’.” City & Region. Calgary Herald. January 29. B3.


CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “Homelessness: from crisis management to ending the disgrace” >> Google Docs. Uploaded January 29.

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