For Immediate Release  
Contact:Jaime Rogers (MHCHS), Manager of                 
Homelessness & Housing Development Department                           
Phone: 403.928.1714                                                                                                                                

The Journey Home.

(Medicine Hat, AB) June 16th, 2017
Medicine Hat Community Housing Society (MHCHS) celebrates with guests at the 7th Annual Community Celebration and release of the Year 7 Progress Report. Community welcomes activist Joe Roberts, the Skid Row CEO, who will inspire guests with his own journey through homelessness.  The event aims to celebrate a dedicated community effort to house individuals through a Housing First approach in Medicine Hat. 

We have responded to homelessness differently in our community, restructuring our entire system’s approach following housing first as a philosophy. Evolution is our theme for Year 7, putting a spotlight on the growth and development required to successfully end homelessness.  At Home in Medicine Hat: Our Plan to End Homelessness has transformed with evolving community needs.  Ending homelessness is not possible through the work of one individual, sector, team or organization, it is possible by joining organized actions to produce a single accomplishment.

Year 7 Progress Report highlights:  
·       Since 2009, 777 individuals and their 317 children have been housed in Medicine Hat. Of the 777 individuals housed:
  • 33% reported substance abuse
  • 25% reported being in foster care at some point in their life
  • 49% reported a physical health condition
  • 37% reported being exposed to family violence
  • 60% reported a mental health condition.
·       75% of Housing First participants successfully completed the program.  
2016/2017 Specific
·       588 assessments completed through Central Intake. 
  • 72 individuals supported through Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing.
  • 339 individuals assisted through Diversion.
  • 64 individuals supported through Transition and Discharge Planning.
·       372 individuals assisted through Miywasin Counseling Program.
·       The McMan Youth Outreach worker served 44 unique youth with a primary focus on early intervention and prevention of homelessness.    

“We acknowledge and celebrate the incredible success and accomplishments that our community has worked so hard for,” said Jaime Rogers.  

Background -
In 2009, Medicine Hat became one of the first Canadian cities to commit to ending homelessness using the housing first approach. In the Starting at Home in Medicine Hat: Our 5 Year Plan to End Homelessness (2010-2015), the community laid out its vision, key principles, and core strategies to realize this vision.  In 2013, the community began to refocus the initial Plan with the assistance of Dr. Alina Turner, and released At Home in Medicine Hat. Our Plan to End Homelessness on May 15, 2014.
Six years later, considerable progress has been made as indicated by reductions in shelter use, the number of homeless who have been housed and maintain housing, as well as several measures introduced to restructure the Homeless-Serving System in Medicine Hat.  The Year 7 Progress Report highlights the work done in this community to provide the Journey Home, calling to attention the importance of community partnerships, collaboration, leadership, accountability, and progress.   -30-