Target: Ted Clugston, Mayor of Medicine Hat
Goal: Applaud the success of a “housing first” initiative that provided nearly 1000 homeless people with free apartments.
Medicine Hat, Alberta has become the first Canadian city to eliminate homelessness thanks to an ambitious “housing first” plan executed in 2009. Rather than providing beds in homeless shelters for homeless citizens, the city set out to move every person who had lived on the streets for longer than 10 days into a permanent home. So far, the city has housed almost 1000 people in newly-built apartment complexes.
Since implementing the “housing first” initiative, emergency room visits as well as interactions with police have fallen, as have instances of people not attending mandatory court appearances. Not only does the initiative benefit the homeless, it saves city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. While it can cost up to $100,000 per year to house one homeless person in emergency shelters, this new initiative costs only $35,000 per year. This extra money can then be spent on providing food and other necessities to the city’s less fortunate residents.
In a particularly heartwarming case, one man placed in an apartment insisted on leaving each day to sleep outside. Each day for over two months, members of the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society tracked the man down and brought him back to his apartment. Thanks to the perseverance of these workers, the man now stays in his apartment every night.
Though this is a great success in itself, the city of Medicine Hat will maintain an ongoing effort to place all homeless people in homes within ten days of reaching a shelter. Not only has the city successfully helped nearly 1000 people, it has created a successful model which could soon be adopted by other cities across the country. Sign the petition below to applaud Medicine Hat for becoming a world leader in the fight against homelessness.
Dear Mayor Ted Clugston,
Medicine Hat has successfully met its goal of providing homes for every homeless person in the city by 2015. Over 1000 homeless people, including over 200 children, have been placed in apartments of their own.
Not only is the initiative a cost-effective way of restoring dignity to some of the city’s least fortunate, but has proven to be a successful model for cities across the country to follow. We, the undersigned, applaud the success of Medicine Hat’s “housing first” initiative.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David Shankbone