Homelessness in Our Community

Medicine Hat’s Plan to End Homelessness originated in 2009 and our refocused plan, At Home in Medicine Hat: Our Plan to End Homelessness, launched in 2014. The Plan is based on a ‘housing with supports’ philosophy and outlines an effective strategy to address homelessness in the community. A comprehensive and coordinated system of care has been built and continues to evolve, ensuring timely access to the right resources and supports to prevent and end homelessness in peoples’ lives.

The Homeless and Housing Development Department functions as the Community Based Organization and Community Entity, established for the purposes of system planner and administering funding targeted to initiatives aimed at ending homelessness.

The following are the key roles of a lead organization:

Work cross-ministry to develop, implement, coordinate and evaluate the system of care and disrupt systems when needed (Health, Justice, Education, Children’s Services, Seniors, Community and Social Services).

Local leadership and decision making. The cost savings and efficiency of this approach have been clearly demonstrated, and government support for local autonomy in backbone entity-driven system planning along with the provision of resources and enabling policy is critical. Community decisions about community outcomes.

Consult and engage with diverse stakeholders to support implementation; targets capacity building initiatives, including comprehensive training and technical assistance for the sector.

Manages diverse funding streams to meet community priorities, compliance, program and system performance management, evaluation, and reporting requirements to funders. Investing in services with proven integration and sustainability.

Oversight and implementation of the shared data collection system. Analysis to help make data-informed decisions to determine services and create system efficiencies.

Planning and Investment

Approximately $3.6M dollars of provincial and federal funding is invested annually into organizations to support the successful implementation programs.  Recommendations for investments are vetted through the eleven member Community Council on Homelessness.

The planning and investment strategy for April 1st to March 31st funding cycle commences in the fall of each year with program monitors and community-wide engagement sessions.

Programs and Services

Medicine Hat has dedicated community partners, funded and non-funded agencies that support this work and ensure that everyone is working towards helping people on their journey home. The following programs received funding from the Community Based Organization and Community Entity for 2024 – 2025 (April 1st to March 31st) service delivery year:

Medicine Hat Community Housing Society –Outreach Department serves as the coordinated access system into housing with supports programs in the community. Housing Link assesses the housing and support needs of individuals and families that are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless including those being transitioned and/or discharged into homelessness from community-based provincial or federal systems/facilities treatment, hospital, and child welfare, using the  SPDAT.  Upon completion of the assessment, a referral to the most appropriate program is made.

Rapid Resolution serves individuals and families that are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless who score 0-60 on the SPDAT and who do not require the duration or intensity of existing case management services through housing with supports programming. The role of the Outreach Case Manager worker is to assist individuals to establish housing security through the provision of brief, client focused, direct hands on intervention and support.

Housing loss prevention efforts focus on providing financial assistance for individuals and families who have a Notice to Vacate due to non-payment of rent for a one-month time period. The individual or family is required to have a verified 6+ month sustained rental history, do not require any case management or additional support services, and have explored other options for rental arrears payment.  Payment for rental arrears shall be paid directly to the landlord and/or property management company.

Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, through Housing Link, provides housing with supports through intensive case management (ICM) for individuals and families who experience chronic and episodic homelessness and who present with higher acuity needs.  The duration of the program is approximately 12 months.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an evidence-based intervention that links permanent, affordable housing with flexible, voluntary support services to assist with housing retention and independent living. It is primarily targeted to individuals who have a history, or are at risk of, housing instability that are currently living in the private rental market or non-sustainable housing situations.

McMan Youth, Family and  Community Services Association provides ICM for individuals and families to be delivered in alignment with housing with supports philosophy.  PSH is a housing model for individuals with complex needs who are currently or have experienced homelessness and have a history of housing instability.  Tenancy in one of the 30 units is not time-limited meaning an indefinite length of stay is possible, although PSH programs operate with a recovery orientation. Each program participant/tenant has their own lease agreement and is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

Site-based PSH programs operate with the expectation of maintaining positive profile and relationships within the local neighborhood.  Involvement and engagement of neighbors and local organizations can be a positive way for a PSH program to improve community integration and the network of relationships and supports available for participants.

PSH eligible service participants supported through a scattered-site model will be provided ICM in alignment with the housing with supports philosophy with a focus on increased frequency of visits to support housing stability.

The CBO/CE provides on-going financial assistance in the form of rent supplements to eligible individuals and families that have graduated from a housing with supports program(s). Subsidy rates are aligned with local Housing Management Body rates.

Roots Youth Shelter – McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association is a four-bed youth shelter that provides emergency shelter and supports for up to four youth aged 12-17. Community-based youth who are homeless or at imminent risk and CFS involved youth can access the beds.  Focusing on prevention and early intervention, the primary goal is to reduce the number of nights a youth stays by providing mediation and conflict resolution in order to reunify the youth with their families as quickly as possible.

McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association supports community-based youth aged 12-24 that are at risk of becoming homeless due to family conflict as well as those currently homeless or staying in the youth shelter. Appropriate housing/re-housing of the youth, as well as support to the family to promote family reunification is the focus of this program. Those individuals requiring assessment for housing with supports based service interventions will be referred and/or accompanied to Housing Link for services.

The Miywasin Friendship Centre Counseling Program provides individual and family counselling program for Indigenous individuals at risk of homelessness.  The Cultural Connections Coordinator is responsible for the development and implementation of Miywasin Addictions Programs for Indigenous clients who use substances. The focus of this position is to provide Indigenous ways of healing and helping through access to culture as well as Indigenous Elders and/or Knowledge Keepers. The program will focus on Indigenous culture, traditions and practices as a pathway to healing.

The Miywasin Friendship Centre Counseling Program provides individual and family counselling program for Indigenous individuals at risk of homelessness. The Housing Stabilization Coordinator is responsible for the one-on-one stabilization support for Indigenous clients at risk of homelessness.

Miywasin offers a variety of programs to the community at large, including Elder’s and youth programming, Aboriginal cultural activities and events, transitional housing, and counseling support.

The Medicine Hat Public Library (MHPL) provides the development and implementation of Social Services at Medicine Hat Public Library as part of the response for marginalized and vulnerable populations in Medicine Hat. This program provides a safe and supportive environment at the MHPL for all users accessing services. The social worker will assess need and coordinate accompanying services to address the needs of individuals in community as it relates to navigating the social service system. The casual cash employment program will provide participants with a sense of belonging, learning and educational opportunities and job experience skills.

The CBO/CE provides oversight for the development of service provider and community capacity building as it relates to efforts to end homelessness in the community. This includes the provision of mandatory and supplemental training for service providers, access to training and learning/education opportunities for community partners, and community/ leadership development around systems planning, integration, and the professionalization of housing with supports programming.  Community and stakeholder engagement, planning, and reporting back to the community is included under this initiative.

The CBO/CE provides oversight for the Centralized Support fund, which has two purposes: first, it provides assistance to families (with children under 18 years) that present at the shelter with a hotel stay when other options have been exhausted.  This is a coordinated effort with all shelters in community and Housing Link. The funds also provide support to individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness and whose situations fall outside the scope and eligible expenditures of funded programs and services.

Medicine Hat Emergency Shelter Providers

McMan Roots Youth Shelter

250 2nd Street SE Medicine Hat, Alberta
Phone: 403.580.5884

The McMan Roots Youth Shelter has a 4-bed site available for community youth, and those connected with Child and Family Services Authority.

Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter

Phone: 403.529.109
Toll-Free: 800.661.7949

The Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society supports individuals impacted by family violence by providing them with safe shelter, education, advocacy and access to community resources.

Mustard Seed Shelter

737 – 8 Street SE, Medicine Hat, Alberta
Phone: 825.222.4636

The Mustard Seed operates a 30-bed capacity emergency adult shelter.