H.O.P.E. helps prevent homelessness in Calgary
Team works to reach people in need
H.O.P.E. (Housing, Outreach, Prevention, Engagement) is a program that helps prevent homelessness. The team works together to help those in need who are one step away from being homeless. They provide mobile transportation, apartment bookings and grocery shopping for clients.
Geoff Webber is a H.O.P.E. team member. He has been working for H.O.P.E. for the past year.
“Working here grows you. I know I’ve learned to be more compassionate towards people. It’s easy to burn out when you’re results driven,” he said.
When an agency refers a client to the team, the team will then follow-up with the client. Often this means entering their homes. Once there, the team will figure out a plan for the client.
“It’s interesting walking into someone’s home,” said Webber, “You’re able to see what they’re living in, smell it, see what they’re eating.”
Webber says there are certain reasons why people go homeless. Sometimes it’s because they have no car and can’t get to medical appointments, job interviews or apartment showings. Other times people go homeless because of isolation. They have no family, no friends and no support.
“I have family so I don’t think I would ever be homeless. Sometimes people just need a word of encouragement, and I get that from my family,” Said Webber.
H.O.P.E. is applying for charity status. They are currently funded by private donors, and are sponsored by C.U.P.S. (Calgary Urban Project Society) Different agencies around the city, such as Alberta Health Services and Calgary Family Services, refer clients to the H.O.P.E. team.
“I could see this growing into something bigger. We could be on the streets more, this could become a full time gig,” said Webber.