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The RESOLVE campaign enters its final year

The RESOLVE campaign is entering its final months and is still looking for donations to help finish the campaign strong.

“We have raised about $70 million, which has allowed us to house 1,592 homeless, vulnerable Calgarians,” said Cheryl Hamelin, executive director of the RESOLVE campaign.

In collaboration with Calgary’s 10-year plan to end homelessness [Calgary’s Plan], the RESOLVE campaign focuses on a “housing first strategy.”

“You put people in homes first before you start to provide the services for them to work on the root causes of what led them into homelessness in the first place,” said Hamelin.

Housing with “wrap-around service” is what the RESOLVE campaign focuses on. This means providing people with addictions treatment, counselling, financial literacy education and helping them look for jobs.

This campaign is the first of its kind in Canada. It is a collaboration of nine social service agencies coming together to raise money to build rental housing with support services for vulnerable homeless people.

“It was a matter of nine big well-respected organizations in Calgary coming together and saying, we think we can do this better together,” said Hamelin.

Additionally, the Government of Alberta put forward $120 million at the start of the campaign to get it off the ground.

The goal of the RESOLVE campaign was to meet the government’s contribution.

One of the key messages of the RESOLVE campaign focuses on providing people with the support they need, because it is comparatively less expensive for the public systems than if people remain homeless.

The cost to the public system can be $55,000 to more than $100,000. In comparison, the cost can be as low as $34,000 when a person is provided with the support systems they need as well as housing.

“[It’s a] collection of philanthropy and government that came together to pursue the cause of building accommodation for 3,000 people,” said Kevin McNichol, vice president of strategy at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF).

CHF is one of the founding organizations of the RESOLVE campaign.

When Calgary’s Plan was in its infancy, CHF was tasked with coordinating and implementing Calgary’s Plan.

Calgary’s Plan comes to a close Monday, Jan. 29 but the RESOLVE campaign will continue until March 31.

“We’re still three months out to the end of the campaign and we are hoping that people will continue to come out and support that cause,” said McNichol.

The plan has already opened five new construction projects, retired two mortgages, purchased a building, begun construction on three new buildings, secured funding for nine projects to break ground and gotten three projects “shovel-ready,” however these projects still need funding.

“It’s been a really difficult economic time for Calgary, as we all know, and being able to raise $70 million to go toward building housing for the homeless with wrap-around support services is really something to be really proud of,” said Hamelin.

Students can make donations by texting HOME to 30333 to donate $10, $20 or $25.

“It’s the support of everyday Calgarians that get it done,” said McNichol.

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