Strategy #9 - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Strategy #9

Develop approaches to prevent provincial systems from discharging clients into homelessness.

Many Albertans enter the homeless system from other public institutions and systems. These include the corrections system, foster care, and health facilities. This is not because other provincial systems are doing a poor job but their mandate ends with the particular services they provide and housing for the homeless is outside that mandate.

The situation is best regarded as a by-product of the lack of integration between provincial systems and institutions. Each system is mandated to perform specific functions and provide specific services. Once a system has fulfilled its function for a particular individual, the individual is discharged from that system. In some cases, the discharged individual does not have a support network or stable home to which they can return. Instead, they enter the homeless system and can become chronically homeless. Some people will end up returning to the provincial system from which they were recently discharged.

Considering a person’s housing when planning his or her discharge is necessary to help prevent homelessness. It also has benefits for provincial systems. Studies have shown that providing housing to those who are discharged from hospitals reduces health care use. Similarly, ensuring housing for those discharged from corrections facilities results in decreased recidivism.

Alberta must work to prevent homelessness by ensuring that people in the care of other provincial systems are not being discharged into homelessness.

As part of implementing the Plan, ways will be identified of improving the connections between the homeless-serving system and other provincial systems. Approaches will be developed to help these systems work together in planning discharges and preventing discharges of Albertans into homelessness.

PID: 14618