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Preventing Homelessness Before It Happens

You’ve probably seen the numbers. Right now in Calgary, more than 3,000 people are experiencing homelessness—an estimated 15 per cent of who are children, youth and young adults. An additional 15,600 Calgary households are in extreme need of affordable housing1. But these numbers only scratch the surface of a much more widespread problem.

Today, 1 in 10 Calgarians lives in poverty, 1 in 5 is worried about food security, and 1 in 3 is concerned about being able to afford housing2. Provincially, it’s estimated that 362,000 people live in poverty, including nearly 70,000 children3. What’s more is nearly 60 per cent of Indigenous children living on-reserve live in poverty4.

This means that at any given time, thousands of Calgarians—and thousands more people across the province—are on the verge of homelessness.

But what if there was a way to prevent homelessness before it happens? What if there was a way to recognize risk factors and provide families, adults and youth with the supports needed before sleeping in a shelter or crashing on a friend’s couch became their only option.

Aspen’s recently released Helping Families Stay Housed toolkit aims to do just that. Developed in partnership with Children’s Cottage Society, the toolkit teaches community workers how to identify early warning signs and take the steps needed to support families in building a plan to stay housed.

After all, a place to call home is so much more than an address. Having a place to sleep makes holding a job easier. It makes attending school simpler. And it makes accessing community resources and important social services possible.

At Aspen, we don’t just help put roofs over peoples’ heads. We help each individual and family find the right home in the right neighbourhood with access to the right supports and resources. Because we know that when people have a place to call home, they can begin to make a better life for themselves, their families and communities.

Please help us keep local families housed. To make a donation to ensure Aspen is able to continue helping families facing homelessness, contact Ashlee Hamblin at ahamblin@aspenfamily.org or donate online now.


References

1. Calgary Homeless Foundation, Calgary’s Updated Plan to End Homelessness
2. Canada Without Poverty, Alberta Poverty Program Profile 2016
3. Statistics Canada CANSIM 2016. Persons in Low Income. Modified Table 206-0041
4. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada