The Costs of Homelessness: What are you willing to pay?


January 29, 2015 :: Audrey Skoog
Moderated by Larry Elford

On March 16, 2009, the Alberta Government announced an ambitious plan to end homelessness in this province, the first to make such declaration in Canada. This plan saw a shift from relying on emergency shelters to manage the problem and instead use Housing First principles to create not only housing stability but diversion from future homelessness.
From a financial perspective, simply managing homelessness was projected to cost the Alberta Government more than six billion dollars over 10 years. This figure does not include the indirect costs of homelessness that tax payers absorb through the health, corrections and justice systems which conservatively is estimated at 100,000 dollars per homeless person per year. This is a far cry from the projected 3.16 Billion dollars that the implementation of the plan to end homelessness will cost over the same 10 year period.
From a human stand point, healthier Canadians mean healthier homes and children which means a brighter future for Canada. The speaker will argue that from a moral and fiscal stand point, working until every Albertan and every Canadian has a home, just makes good sense.
Speaker: Audrey Skoog
In 1997 at age 17, Audrey became an unlikely advocate for social issues after having experienced youth homelessness. As a vocal consumer in the system, she was asked to speak in Ottawa on child poverty. Since then her experiences have led her to an education in psychology which led to even further adventures overseas and back here at home.
In 2008 Audrey started a grassroots advocacy group to bring media attention, local awareness and raise funds for homeless initiatives. This group allowed those working in the social care system to make impacts in a way that they were restrained from in their normal agency settings. This group was able to garner media attention for the need for broader addictions services and was able to bring a human face to homelessness.
Along with this, Audrey worked in the homeless continuum, first as a part of Alberta’s Outreach Initiative Pilot Project and then as one of the members of Medicine Hat’s first Housing First Team. Audrey now works as a manager at the emergency shelter and enjoys many community partnerships which are a direct result of Medicine Hat’s collective grass roots attitude, community inclusion and a willingness to work consistently with data and the truths that data brings when it comes to needed change.
Moderator: Larry Elford
Date: Thursday, January 29, 2015
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM (30 minutes each for presentation, lunch and Q & A)
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea at the presentation only)


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