Homelessness is a complex problem that can affect anyone.
Responses to homelessness must be flexible and adaptable as each person's situation is different.
What we're doing
We have worked with community partners to transform the way our province responds to homelessness by connecting people with a range of services to meet their unique needs.
Previously, responses to homelessness focused exclusively on emergency services. Now services and supports also focus on helping people move off the street, out of shelters and into safe, stable homes.
Homelessness is often accompanied by other challenges, such as mental illness, addiction, a lack of resources or difficulties with life skills. Once a person has fallen into homelessness, these challenges can make it difficult to regain housing.
A Housing First approach breaks this cycle. People experiencing homelessness are quickly placed into housing and then receive wrap-around supports such as addictions treatment, mental health services, employment skills training and rent support to address the unique and complex needs that contributed to their homelessness.
Evidence shows that people are better able to break the cycle of homelessness when provided with housing and appropriate supports.
Annual provincial funding to community-based organizations in Alberta's seven major cities helps deliver Housing First programming and support local homelessness priorities.
Nearly 1,900 Albertans were placed in housing and provided with support in 2017-18.
Emergency shelters provide critical, short-term accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness or affected by family violence.
Shelters are owned and operated by trusted partners who are aware of the different needs of each community. Funding is provided to support the operation of shelters across the province:
- 28 facilities providing homeless emergency shelter and short-term/long-term housing
- 30 women's emergency shelters
- 12 second-stage women's shelters
- 5 fee-for-service on-reserve women's emergency shelters
- 2 elder-abuse shelters
Strengthening Alberta’s housing system
Stronger Foundations is Alberta’s 10-year strategy to improve and expand affordable housing. It outlines the changes needed to provide safe, stable, affordable housing for an additional 25,000 households. Key actions under the strategy include:
- supporting Albertans most in need
- improving access
- increasing planning and governance
- enhancing sustainability and efficiency
- enabling growth and investment
The root causes of homelessness are complex and vary from person to person. Initiatives across the province are addressing issues that contribute to homelessness, such as poverty, addiction and mental or physical illness, so Albertans do not become homeless:
- Alberta's opioid crisis response
- Valuing Mental Health initiative
- Family and Community Support Services
- Preventing and reducing youth homelessness
While great strides have been made towards reaching the goals set out in Alberta's 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, there's more work to do.
As we move forward, we will keep exploring what's working well and the challenges that still need to be addressed.
The Housing First approach that has helped thousands of Albertans end the cycle of chronic homelessness will continue to be an important part of Alberta's response. Emergency shelters will continue to help people when they have nowhere else to go. And programs and services across the province will continue to address the root causes and prevent homelessness.
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