Homeless numbers dropping, experts say
The Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre took in nearly 3,000 fewer new people in 2010 than it did the year before, said its executive director Debbie Newman.
Factors behind the numbers include a rebounding jobs picture and a softer rental market, she said.
"So in the past year there was much more to choose from. There were landlords offering incentive deals to get individuals into apartments. So rents were lowered, there were many people that were offering no down payments, first months free," she said.
An increase in the number of affordable housing units has also helped, said Calgary Homeless Foundation president Tim Richter. The organization has recently found homes for 2,300 people.
"I think we've turned a corner," he said, noting that overall shelter use in Calgary has been dropping by about five per cent each year since 2009.
The key now is to get long-term shelter users — with addictions and mental health problems — into homes and support programs, Richter said.