Homelessness & Housing Development
The Plan to End Homelessness
“I’m amazed by the progress Medicine Hat is making. You are within striking distance of ending homelessness, potentially becoming the first community in North America to be able to say that.”
~Tim Richter, President & CEO Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.
Overview of the Re-focused Plan
An end to homelessness means that no one in our community will have to live in an emergency shelter or sleep rough for more than 10 days before they have access to stable housing and the supports needed to maintain it.
- House 290 homeless people by March 2015, of which 240 would be chronically or episodically homeless.
- Ensure that no more than 10% of those served by housing first programs return to homelessness by 2015.
- Eliminate 50% of 2013 emergency shelter beds by 2015 (a 30 bed reduction).
- Reduce the average length of stay in emergency shelters to 10 days by March 2015.
- Decrease the flow into homelessness from jails and hospitals.
Strategies and Goals
Strategy 1 - System Planning
- Maintain focus on long-term chronic and episodically homeless.
- Apply priority populations lens to meet the needs of youth, women, families, seniors, and Aboriginal people.
- Enhance access across the Homeless-Serving System.
- Maximize the impact of current program investments.
- Enhance service quality and performance in the Homeless-Serving System.
- Advance the engagement of community partners in system planning.
- Engage community funders to align performance monitoring and reporting.
Strategy 2 - Housing & Supports
- Enhance housing first programs and Permanent Supportive Housing capacity.
- Increase capacity for the development and operation of Permanent Supportive Housing.
- Revise the role of emergency shelters post-2015.
- Maximize the use of affordable housing stock in ending homelessness.
- Build on the success of our private rental sector partnerships.
Strategy 3 - Systems Integration & Prevention
- Enhance access to appropriate levels of income assistance and rent supports for those at risk and experiencing homelessness.
- Explore the addition of a diversion and/or targeted eviction prevention program component to the Homeless-Serving System.
- Enhance the Homeless-Serving System's capacity to support an end to discharging into homelessness.
- Work with the education system to reduce homelessness risk among young people.
- Enhance service integration between the Homeless-Serving System and Alberta Health Services to support homeless and at risk populations.
- Explore system integration options between the Family Violence and Homeless-Serving Systems.
- Support the development of a Poverty Reduction Strategy that addresses homelessness risk in Medicine Hat.
Strategy 4 - Data & Research
- Expand Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) implementation across the Homeless-Serving System and support systems integration.
- Enhance the Homeless-Serving System's research and data analysis capacity.
- Develop a Research Strategy in partnership with provincial and national research partners to advance an end to homelessness.
- Participate in the 2014 Homeless Point-in-Time Count to develop nationally-comparative baseline data on homelessness in Canada.
Strategy 5 - Leadership & Sustainability
- Increase public awareness and engagement in ending homelessness in Medicine Hat.
- Develop and advance policy priorities to support the Medicine Hat Plan to End Homelessness.
- Provide leadership to end homelessness in Alberta and Canada.
- Enhance the Homeless-Serving System’s role in emergency response planning.
- Ensure a sustainable end to homelessness in Medicine Hat beyond 2015.
An end to homelessness in Medicine Hat is not only possible; it is within reach with relatively minor additional funding infusion. From 2014-2016, the total cost for additional measures needed to end homelessness is $12.6M.
To end homelessness in our city, additional funding is needed:
- A one-time capital investment of $7.5M to create 50 units of Permanent Supportive Housing shared between government and community at a 70/30 split; on an ongoing basis, operating these units will cost approximately $1.7M.
- An additional investment of $1.3M annually until the end of 2016 fiscal to double our Intensive Case Management and increase Rapid Rehousing capacity by 50%. This would total $3.4M from 2014-2016 fiscal.