Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In 2008 the homelessness rate in Calgary was growing exponentially. We saw an increase of 35 per cent every two years. Using those calculations, we should now have more than 10,000 homeless Calgarians, but we don’t, and the reason is the 10-year plan to end homelessness.
In 2008 Calgary became the first city in Canada to create a plan to end homelessness, and the results have been phenomenal: 7,000 people have found permanent housing, and we’ve seen a 17 per cent reduction in Calgary’s homeless population. This is a remarkable achievement considering the phenomenal rate of Calgary’s growth. Even with over 200,000 new people moving to Alberta, the rate of homelessness in Calgary has slowed. Since 2008 more than 12 cities across Canada have adopted Calgary’s strategy.
Recently I saw comments from Edmonton’s police chief giving the homelessness plan a failing grade. I could not have been more disappointed. Those comments undermine and devalue the heavy lifting done by government staff, front-line professionals, community organizations, and, most importantly, the Calgary Homeless Foundation and its CEO, Diana Krecsy, who have dedicated their hearts and souls to this critical endeavour.
I am privileged to contribute to the Calgary council on homelessness, which is a nonpartisan systems check on homeless supports in this province. Along with my esteemed colleague the Member for Calgary-Elbow we are charged with identifying gaps in the system and looking for solutions. I would ask the government to consider the work we are doing on the issue of homelessness in Alberta. We believe the answer to this issue lies not in criticizing current efforts but in building on successes like Calgary and Medicine Hat and sharing our resources and information by working together through collaboration, not criticism.
On April 12, 2016, Sandra Jansen called for more work to identify and fill gaps in Alberta's systme to address homelessness
PC Caucus in the Legislature
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