B.6: Helping Families Stay Housed – Working Together to Prevent Family Homelessness
In Calgary more than 15,000 families spend over 50% of their income on housing. For many, income instability means that they are living one small crisis away from being able to afford their rent. Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness (2015) found 15,600 Calgarian households to be in extreme core housing need (determined to be at risk of homelessness) and additionally in 2016, Calgary’s Point-In Time Count, identified that 199 families and 338 children (under the age of 17) were living in homelessness. Therefore, there is an urgent need to not only end homelessness for families but to prevent it from ever occurring. To do this it is important for individuals, agencies and communities to partner together and work collaboratively to find collective solutions to this rising crisis. We know that homelessness has particularly adverse effects on children. A lack of stability in housing can disrupt healthy development leading to poor physical and mental health for children. Half of school aged children who experience homelessness also experience problems with depression and anxiety. Additionally, one in five preschool aged children experience emotional problems that require professional care. (SOURCE: American Psychological Association (2018) Effects of Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness on Children and Youth)
In 2016, funded by the Calgary Homeless Foundation, The Children’s Cottage Society and Aspen Family & Community Network Society came together to collaboratively work on a solution. Each agency has over 30 years of experience working with families and combined this to launch “Helping Families Stay Housed”, a toolkit for the community to help prevent family homelessness. This toolkit is designed to help those in the community that may not work directly in homelessness but who interact with families at risk, to identify the early signs of potential homelessness and engage families with the right supports at an early stage.
This presentation will provide information and tools that will enable all attendees to identify families who may be at risk of homelessness and equip them with strategies to support families in staying housed.