This paper investigates the way in which the Housing First philosophy and model have been adapted to suit the setting in Calgary and Alberta. It also touches on the relationships between different stakeholders in the realm of homeless service delivery in Alberta, as well as incentives these stakeholders have to reach common goals.
The Alberta government has pledged hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to end homelessness through adoption of Alberta's 10-year plan to end homelessness. Calgary has adopted a similar plan. Both plans commit to end homelessness in Alberta and Calgary, respectively, by 2018 by employing a strategy known as "Housing First". Housing First is a fairly new and revolutionary philosophy and service
delivery model in which clients experiencing homelessness are offered a permanent housing solution before any other needs, such as mental health, addictions, poor employability, etcetera are addressed.
While Housing First has been widely acclaimed in the academic literature, it has only been so in the context of single men and women with a diagnosis severe mental illness. There is no literature proving its efficacy or effectiveness for other populations such as families with children. However, the plans in Calgary and Alberta more widely call for Housing First to be applied to all populations. As time passes
and more data is collected, we will see whether this wide adoption of Housing First is hailed as an innovative and forward-thinking or premature on the part of the government and the Calgary Homeless Foundation.