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The Progressive Economics Forum

Public Policy and Homelessness: The Case of Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Public Policy and Homelessness:  The Case of Calgary.”

Points raised in the blog post include the following:

-Calgary experienced explosive growth in the size of its homeless population from the mid-1990s until 2008.

-Though causation is hard to establish, the following factors likely had a major impact on this growth: a sharp decrease in federal spending on housing beginning in the early 1990s; a sharp decrease in housing spending by Alberta’s provincial government beginning in the mid-1990s; and strict reforms to social assistance introduced by Alberta’s provincial government in 1993.

-Since 2008, Calgary’s per-capita homeless population has decreased.  Factors that have likely led to this decrease include the implementation of a ‘plan to end homelessness’ in that year; substantial increases in social assistance benefit levels in Alberta brought in after 2008; and (more recently) Calgary’s very high rental vacancy rate (created as an indirect result of the drop in the price of oil, which caused many jobless workers to leave the city).

The link to the full blog post is here.

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