Today is the release of the preliminary report of the Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness held October 19th in Albereta.
PIT Counts are interesting beasts. They provide a moment-in-time snapshot of homelessness in any given city. They are not the de facto scientific answer to who is homeless, how long they’ve been homeless, or what are the issues contributing to their state of being.
They are a moment in time of those counted on a given night.
Yet, often, media see the PIT results as the measure of a city’s success, or failure, to end homelessness.
The PIT number only tells part of the story. The part where we count who is on the streets or in shelter, incarcerated with no fixed address, or hospitalized with no fixed address on that night.
The more important data is how well a city is doing at housing those for whom home was a long ago place. How well those who are housed thrive in housing. How much is health, physical and mental well-being improving.
In Calgary, we are doing a stellar job of ensuring the system of care is strong, responsive and proactive. We have agencies who work together to share data, discuss housing plans, develop strategies to ensure the system of care is using its resources as impactfully as possible.
Challenge is, the economic climate, the lack of affordable housing especially for those with lower incomes, is limited in our city.
We need housing.
Which is why I am so proud to work for an organization that had the courage to take the bold move of transferring its $60 million housing portfolio to an independent entity so that organization could focus on the development, building and management of housing for the h0meless-serving sector and vulnerable Calgarians.
On Friday afternoon I stood amidst friends, colleagues, agency partners, government officials and stakeholders as HomeSpace Society was officially launched.
It was exciting. Moving. Thrilling to see this dream that was seeded in the early 2000’s become a reality.
Some of my favourite people from the Foundation where I work have moved over to HomeSpace — and the enthusiasm, commitment and passionate excellence they carry with them is inspiring, and hopeful.
They know their job like no one else.
They know what it takes to move a project from concept, to land acquisition, to development approval and to final build.
They know what vulnerable people need for housing and to stay housed. And, they know how to work with the funded agencies who provide supports to tenants so that those for whom homelessness has been a long time reality can let go of the ‘homeless identity’ to claim their new way of being in the world, ‘at home’.
It took a lot of hard work, commitment, vision and patience for HomeSpace to become a reality.
Congratulations to everyone involved. From CHF management, board members, and team to the entire team at HomeSpace, and everyone who played a role. Job well done!
I’m excited about what the future will bring for vulnerable Calgarians, the homeless-serving sector, and our city.
This morning we will be talking about the people experiencing homelessness on one night in our city. And while we won’t be talking about those who are housed, it’s their story that must be told, because that the bigger picture of how Calgarians are making a difference, together!