Enough for All’s Goal:
Everyone in Calgary can easily access the right supports, services and resources.
Despite an extensive system of programs and services provided throughout Calgary by more than 1,200 agencies, many people have difficulty accessing and benefitting from those services. The Enough for All strategy makes numerous recommendations on eliminating barriers to accessing the complex system to help people find the supports when they need them most. The challenges in this area are great, however we see complex challenges as great opportunities to collaborate to implement impactful solutions.
Working together may be the only way we can make lasting, positive change that impacts all Calgarians.
Enough for All is honored to have a working collaborative unique to other municipal poverty reduction strategies. The Justice Sector Constellation was convened to provide recommendations on ways that justice-serving agencies, governments and law enforcement may improve access to the legal system by low-income Calgarians. The same group has been meeting for more than 4 years to first make recommendations for the Enough for All strategy, and are now focusing on the implementation of these recommendations, in addition to implementing new recommendations. Concerning service enhancement and education, projects have included a Legal Services Database Project, Legal Advice versus Legal Information Project, and a Collaboration with Educators Project.
There are significant systemic and policy considerations when identifying opportunities for change in the legal system. The Justice Sector Constellation has supported a Courthouse Greeters Feasibility study, and was granted funding in 2016 to complete a research project seeking to identify the disproportionate impact of certain bylaws on low-income Calgarians.
Read the final set of recommendations by the Justice Sector Constellation: Intervening at the Intersection of Poverty and the Legal System, March 2013
For an updated synopsis of active projects currently being undertaken: Justice Sector Constellation Project Synopsis, as of April 2017
Read the November 2017 Justice Sector Constellation Synopsis Update.
One can imagine the challenge of streamlining service access and management between even a handful of Calgary’s 1,200 service-providing agencies. Though the recommendations made within Enough For All concerning Common Intake have not come to fruition, there are a number of examples of organizations demonstrating a real commitment to improving the experience of Calgarians seeking supports and services. The Calgary Homeless Foundation has implemented a Homeless Management Information system within the homelessness sector. The City of Calgary launched its Fair Entry program in 2015, allowing eligible Calgarians to submit one application for all of Calgary’s subsidized programs; the Low-Income Transit Pass, Recreation, Spay and Neuter Program and Property Tax assistance.
Other projects related to Community Access Points include exploring housing multiple support services and/or agencies in a centralized location. Community hubs have great potential to be highly localized centres to meet a multitude of residents’ needs, including accessing social services and supports. Other examples of Community Access Points include Alberta Supports Centres and Community Resources Centres.
Despite Calgary’s extensive service network, many people are unaware of the services available to them. There is a tremendous a resource at the fingertips of any Calgarian with access to the internet or a phone. Through a well-developed partnership between the City of Calgary, Alberta Health Services and the Distress Centre, information on agencies and over 10,000 programs and services can be found online at informAlberta or by calling 211. All inquiries by phone are answered by the Distress Centre. All Calgarians should know of this incredible resource and we are developing the tools to share it widely so those who need the support know where they can find it. The Calgary Public Library are eager to increase their capacity to make appropriate referrals and support individuals with accessing information on available services.
Those living in poverty face considerable challenges meeting their basic needs. Ideally, preventative measures should increase a person’s ability to meet their own needs, but we know this is not always the case, due to both short-term and long-term circumstances. Basic needs that are particularly challenging include childcare, education, food, housing transportation and justice. A wide array of initiatives are underway to address these basic needs with two primary strategies:
1) Systems-wide improvements to the delivery of basic needs supports with a goal to prevent, rather than alleviate, the symptoms
2) Initiatives that address the cost of basic necessities
Using the platform of the Enough For All Strategy, numerous collaborative efforts have taken hold to address specific areas related to basic needs. Indeed, we believe it is only through multi-sectoral collaboration that we can make a lasting impact in these areas.
- The Compassionate Food Dignity Collaborative
- Strategic alignment with the Plan to End Homelessness
- Leading the development of an Early Learning and Child Care Strategy for Calgary
- Continuing to advocate for an equitable administration of the Low-Income Transit Pass