Calgary Herald

2,300 homeless housed since 2008

- SEAN MYERS SMYERS@CALGARYHER­ALD.COM

The Calgary Homeless Foundation has housed 2,300 people since the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessne­ss began three years ago, with the greatest increase seen in 2010.

With today marking the third anniversar­y of the creation of the 10year plan, the foundation reported on Thursday that nearly half of the total — 1,135 homeless people — were housed in the past year.

“We’re making really solid progress and that momentum is building,” said Tim Richter, CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “But there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Through 2010, the city saw a stabilizat­ion in the number of homeless using shelters after years of steady increases. According to the foundation’s third-quarter report, shelter use declined by one per cent in October, November and December.

However, with up to 17,000 Calgarians experienci­ng homelessne­ss each year, Richter said there’s no way to confirm a correlatio­n between plateauing shelter use and increasing housing numbers.

He couldn’t say there are now fewer people living on the street.

“For most people, homelessne­ss is a really short-term phenomenon and most people, about 80 per cent, will get their own way out of homelessne­ss,” said Richter. “There are 2,300 people who are now not homeless as a result of Calgary’s 10-year plan.”

Of those, 450 families have been housed in the past three years, according to the report.

When it comes to the shelter numbers, it’s difficult to know if the stable numbers are a result of efforts in the 10-year plan alone or include other favourable economic factors.

“We haven’t reached the highs we saw in 2008. Any time you’re seeing fewer people at the shelter door, it’s a positive thing” said Louise Gallagher, spokeswoma­n for the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

The Rapid Exit housing program run by CUPS found permanent housing for 1,018 people last year, the vast majority of the Calgary Homeless Foundation’s numbers.

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