Homeless people get some shelter from the cold at the Calgary Drop-In Centre. ((CBC))

It will take $3.2 billion to end homelessness in Calgary by 2018, a committee reported Tuesday, one year after it was formed to look for solutions.

The Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, which is made up of 28 leaders from business, government and social agencies, called for more affordable housing and support programs in an ambitious 10-year plan unveiled on Tuesday.

It said it hopes about half of the funding will come from the federal, provincial and municipal governments to meet targets including:

  • 40 hectares of land for affordable housing.
  • Reducing the number of emergency shelter beds by half by 2012.
  • No one staying in an emergency shelter for more than a week.

By spending money upfront, the committee said there will be savings over the decade as outlined by the plan.

"We felt we had to have two goals. From a social side we have to solve the problem and from a financial side, we have to find a lower cost way of doing it," said Steve Snyder, committee chair and CEO of TransAlta.

"And so I believe our goal can accomplish that. I think it shows a blueprint for solving the issue and I think it has a financial blueprint that says it will save taxpayers money over a 10-year period."

In the last 10 years, there has been an increase of 650 per cent in the number of homeless people on Calgary streets, said the committee. The last count in 2006 pegged that number at about 3,400 people.

The committee estimated there could be as many as 15,000 homeless people in the city by 2018.