In her opening remarks, the Honourable Teresa Woo-Paw, MLA for Calgary-Northern Hills and Associate Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations, identified three words that are deadly to social change.
Can’t. Never. Impossible.
Ending homelessness deserves better than our negativity.
It deserves our best.
Those three words need to be changed, to reframed, be transformed to ensure we never lose sight of our goal of ending homelessness. It’s important for everyone.
Yesterday, 450 people came together to hear and talk and explore our best.
Yesterday, when Calgary’s Updated Plan to End Homelessness was launched, 450 people stood up and said, count me in.
We can do this.
We will always hold the vision, together.
When we work together, everything is possible.
At the launch, we shared the ‘what’ that community identified to make it happen through a year and a half of consultations and over 800 comments from community on what they saw, believed, knew needed to be done.
Diana Krecsy, President and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the backbone agency charged with ensuring the Plan continues to move forward and realize its vision, stated in her review of how we got here to this moment today, “In 2008 we believed in the vision. In 2011 we understood a lot more about homelessness in Calgary than we had when we began. Today, we know. We know what’s working and what’s not. And we know we have to do this together, as a community.”
In 2008 (when the plan was launched) there wasn’t a lot of coordination between agencies, or a lot of information sharing. In fact, there was no shared database of who’s who in the system of care, who was receiving service from what agency and where the duplications existed. Today, there is a common information system (Homeless Management Information System). There is coordination and collaboration throughout the system of care.
In 2011, there was a deep understanding of the complexities of homelessness and the need for supports when housing someone directly from the streets. And, there was a deeper understanding of what it was going to take to get the job done.
In 2015, everyone knows it can be done — as long as we work together. As long as we share the vision. As long as we each do our part to make it happen. Not just those working in the sector, but every Calgarian along with government on all levels, faith groups, community associations, individual Calgarians. Everyone.
Yesterday, we presented the Updated Plan and what still needs to be done to end homelessness.
Now, it’s time to get down to the ‘how’.
How am I going to contribute?
How am I going to make a difference?
How am I going to add my voice to the vision of ending homelessness?
There are hundreds of ways each of us can contribute. Whether we live in Calgary or another city somewhere in Canada or anywhere in the world, we can, and we must, do whatever it takes to ensure we remove the less out of homeless so that everyone can find their way home.
As part of the launch, we introduced the idea of “I Heart Home”. In the case of Calgary, “I heart home YYC”. But it could be any centre, any town, anywhere.
No one can argue with home. The value of having one. The need of knowing you’ve got one to come home to. The desire to ensure your children have one. The desire to help your neighbours have one too.
In launching the Updated Plan, we embedded our collective need to understand what home means to each of us at the centre of our work.
So, here’s your invitation. Watch the video, I Heart Home YYC, and, take a video/photo of you, calling out, I heart home because…. and add your voice. And then, share on your social media platforms. Twitter. Instagram. Youtube. Blog..
You’ve be making a difference and you’ll be joining the movement. Thank you!