Calgary has a goal to end homelessness!
February 08, 2019
Over the past 10 years, all three levels of government, the private sector, non-profit and health institutions have partnered together in the 10 Year Plan To End Homelessness. As part of this plan, members of Calgary’s youth homeless-serving sector and community met in 2017 to launch the 2018 Refresh of the Calgary Plan to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness.
There are many agencies that are part of the Youth Refresh Team, including staff from our Street Services portfolio of programs – Director Dean Soenen, Clinician Gio Dolcecore and Team Leader Grace Korthuis.
There has been extensive research in the area of youth homelessness in Canada and internationally, and Calgary has been on the cutting edge of initiatives that support youth experiencing homelessness. However, there is still a lack of knowledge on LGBTQ2S+ and Indigenous identities, especially when they intersect. The Homeless Hub (2018) reported:
- 80% of LGBTQ2S+ students experience discriminatory practices in school
- 59% of Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ youth said they attended alternative schools
- Over 38% of Indigenous youth were unable to access mental health services
- LGBTQ2S+ youth are 51% more likely to be involved on the streets due to family/caregiver discrimination
- LGBTQ2S youth are 34% more likely to say they experienced violence or abuse after coming out
- 25% of homeless youth identify with a diverse gender or sexuality
- Transgender youth are 60% more likely to attempt suicide
- Homelessness becomes more chronic for LGBTQ2S youth due scarce natural supports
To address these concerns, Gio Dolcecore and Wood’s Homes’ Indigenous Liaison, Tye Rhyno, collaborated with Two-Spirit Elders and Knowledge Keepers to create a learning series for professionals.
This series, which began in January, uses traditional Indigenous teachings of sex, sexuality and gender to explore LGBTQ2S+ identities. Both trainings in the series are comprised of two, full-day sessions that explore the effects of historic and current colonization on gender and sexuality, and offers practices to dismantle discrimination and prejudice. The sessions are followed by two-hour sharing circles (every Friday in March), in which participants can receive direct consultation from the facilitators.
Financial support for this series has been provided by a Calgary Homeless Foundation I.C.E Grant (Innovation, Capacity and Enhancement), and allows the series to employ the youth of the Wood’s Homes Youth Culinary Arts Program to cater the training day lunches.
If you are interested in being a part of the final training on February 11-12, 2019 at Wood’s Homes’ Inglewood Campus, please click here.