Family homelessness is out of control in Calgary, says a local social agency.
Inn from the Cold provides up to 170 beds each night across the city and a spokesperson for the agency says they are currently about 30 per cent over capacity. The shelter is struggling to keep up with demand and is calling for emergency shelter space.
"It is something we need in order to provide humane care and support so that we can work effectively with people," said Linda McLean, spokesperson for Inn from the Cold.
"You can't look to longer term solutions in housing if people are in permanent crisis because they don't know where they are sleeping tonight."
McLean says the agency is seeing a lot of evictions due to jumps in rent and utility costs in Calgary.
For more than six nights so far this month they have had to make children and parents sleep on mats on the floor because there aren't enough beds, she says.
Many of the people staying at Inn from the Cold are newcomers to Calgary and Canada, and stay for about 55 nights on average.
Liberal MLA Kent Hehr, who officially launched his bid Thursday for the federal Liberal nomination in Calgary Centre, says he wants to see changes to the Municipal Act to create "inclusionary zoning," which would ensure affordable housing is built in all types of neighbourhoods.
McLeans says long-term solutions are needed but that dealing with the need for emergency beds for families has to be their priority right now.