“Housing First” saves Calgary taxpayers more than $2 million

By Mia Sosiak, Global News September 17, 2013 - The Calgary Homeless Foundation is offering proof that it’s “Housing First” concept has saved taxpayers almost two and a half million dollars. The foundation has been increasing the number of supportive housing spaces as part of its 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, finding permanent homes for people living on the street.

The initiative costs about $18 thousand per person annually, compared to the $46,000 annual cost of housing the homeless in shelters and covering expenses like medical and court costs.

The numbers, released by the foundation on Tuesday, are based on the cases of 72 clients.

John Boone is one of the people who benefited from the program.

After a relationship ended, the professional chef found himself homeless and last year spent time at the Drop In Centre and the psychiatric unit at the Foothills.

These days he’s cooking for himself in his own place.

“You don’t know how good that felt, to be home, and to have your stuff still,” says Boone.

Boone moved into his place in May and now that he’s settling in, is focusing on getting his life on track.

The Homeless Foundations say the challenge going forward is building a bigger inventory of supportive housing spaces.

About 2,500 spaces are need to meet the ten-year goal of ending homelessness in Calgary by 2018.

© Shaw Media Inc., 2013. All rights reserved.