A new start: Community housing program provides help to homeless
December 30th, 2014


Special to The Globe and Mail


Last updated 

Nerissa Buchanan, 23, has been homeless for one year and is eight-months pregnant. Rotating between sleeping at the women’s shelter and on a friend’s couch, she resisted reaching out for help in a bid to make it on her own. However, with her approaching due date and lack of financial support, Ms. Buchanan decided to seek out the support of the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society.

Because of her situation, Ms. Buchanan was deemed a priority. Over the course of a month, she visited five homes with the guidance of Karlena Martinuk, a staff member of the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, before finding a low-income housing unit that she now calls home.

Through a five-year Housing First program, which is in its last phase, officials say the city is set to end chronic homelessness in 2015. Under the program, people go through an entrance procedure that identifies what kind of support is required, then are provided with their own place to stay. The Medicine Hat Community Housing Society says this costs about $13,000 to $34,000 a person – far less than the $66,000 to $120,000 it is estimated to cost by relying on public services such as hospitals and the justice system.

read more…