With more than 235,000 Canadians experiencing it each year, homelessness is a complex and important social issue1 and ending it has become a nationwide priority. Indeed, many Canadian cities are making determined efforts to bring the challenge of homelessness in their communities to the forefront.
In March 2009, the Province released “A Plan for Alberta - Ending Homelessness in 10 Years,” which emphasizes a housing first model and a client-centered approach that removes pre-conditions to being housed. The Regional Municipality
of Wood Buffalo created its own community-level initiative - “Heading Home: The Right Thing to Do - 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness 2010-2020” - as its framework for ending homelessness in the region.
“Heading Home: The Right Thing to Do” focuses on five goals to improve community support and transition to a housing first model that focuses on housing as a right for every person: Education, change management, prevention, re-housing and providing supports.
The approach combines housing relocation and other support services to enable individuals and families to break the cycle of homelessness and create long-term housing stability. Helping those experiencing homelessness access permanent and stable housing provides further opportunity for them to seek necessary resources and engage and participate in society.