Medicine Hat is the first city in Canada to end chronic homelessness.
Since April 1, 2009, Medicine Hat has housed 1,323 people (995 adults, 328 children) through Housing First programs and reduced emergency shelter usage by 64 per cent.
“This is a remarkable achievement, and I want to acknowledge the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society and the many homeless-serving agencies in Medicine Hat for their passion, their hard work and commitment to reach this incredible milestone,” said Alberta Minister of Community and Social Services Rajan Sawhney on Thursday.
Through a coordinated response, community organizations worked together to make sure people are quickly connected to housing programs and receive the necessary wraparound supports they need to maintain their housing.
“Medicine Hat’s success is a remarkable accomplishment and highlights that Alberta is on the right path with the Housing First approach, which has helped nearly 20,000 people find permanent housing since it was first implemented in 2009.
In Alberta’s 2021 budget, the province allocated $90 million to community-based organizations that provide a variety of supports, including permanent supportive housing, intensive case management and rapid rehousing.
“Ending chronic homelessness is a complex issue and requires a coordinated response from all orders of government and community organizations,” said Sawhney. “Alberta has made significant progress over the last 10 years, but I know we have more work to do. It may sometimes feel like an impossible task, but I believe we can get there if we continue to work together.
“Medicine Hat’s success gives us all hope that we will see similar success in other cities,” he added. “I look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners to make sure vulnerable Albertans are protected and have access to the critical services they need.”