More Albertans finding permanent housing, says province

  • Feb. 13, 2013 4:05 p.m.

Since 2009 more than 6,600 homeless Albertans have been provided with housing and supports, and more than 1,600 people have graduated from Housing First Programs and are living independently, according to the province.

Of the Albertans who received support to help them break the cycle of poverty, approximately 80% remain housed.

Those are just a few of the highlights released recently in the final progress report from the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness.

The report supports the creation of a new community-based council and highlights progress on ending homelessness in Alberta.

Premier Alison Redford also announced the appointment of the Alberta Interagency Council (IAC) on Homelessness.

The community-focused partnership will help guide the next phase of ‘A Plan for Alberta: Ending Homelessness in 10 Years’. The focus is now shifting to making long-term changes that will prevent homelessness and strategies requiring coordinated action between government and local communities, she said.

“I extend my gratitude to the Secretariat members who made the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness a reality,” said Redford. “They understood that ending homelessness was the right thing to do for economic, social, and ethical reasons and their work provided the foundation for our current and future success in ending homelessness.”

Co-chaired by Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski and former president and CEO of the Edmonton YMCA, Franco Savoia, the 33-member council will focus on homelessness prevention and identify strategies and actions to provide specialized supports to targeted groups of homeless Albertans, including the chronically homeless, Aboriginals, youth, and women and their families leaving violent situations.

“Eliminating homelessness is a complex task and community ownership is vital to achieve successful outcomes,” said Dave Hancock, human services minister.

“By moving from the Alberta Secretariat to the IAC, we are recognizing the key role played by community partners and agencies in collaborating with government to build on early success and take the 10-year plan to the next level.

“Nominated by community agencies, partnering communities, and government, the diverse experience and perspectives of council members will ensure a truly engaged community and continued support for ending homelessness in Alberta,” said Hancock.

Like all council representatives, Savoia said he was nominated by an organization that recognizes the importance of community perspectives to preventing homelessness.

“We have lots of work to do and I am confident that the council members are in a position to address issues and find solutions.”

The Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness, appointed in 2008 to develop the initial stages of the plan, monitored the plan’s implementation and progress over the past three years.

Community organizations were responsible for the plan’s implementation.

Statistics relating to seven Alberta communities are available through the Human Services web site.