Homeless Charter of Rights, First of Its Kind in Canada, Unveiled in the East Village

Calgary, Alberta – June 18, 2015 – Discrimination is part of the homeless experience. Ending discriminatory practices is an important step towards ending homelessness.

Today, at a first in Canada event, another significant step was taken to advance the goal of ending homelessness and protecting our most vulnerable. Funded through the Alberta Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, The Homeless Charter of Rights (The Homeless Charter) project was launched at an outdoor event on the River Walk in the East Village. The Homeless Charter provides an opportunity to unify the community and bring awareness to the issue of discrimination against those experiencing homelessness.

The Homeless Charter is more than just a project; it is a movement for social change. Born of a partnership between the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), the CHF Client Action Committee (CAC), a committee that consists of people who are experiencing or have previously experienced homelessness, and the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the Homeless Charter identifies the rights of those experiencing homelessness in Calgary and identifies those rights within health, justice and housing services.

“A healthy and just society can be measured by its treatment of its most vulnerable citizens,” says Diana Krecsy, President & CEO, CHF. “Understanding rights is integral to individuals being able to identify and address discriminatory practices that undermine their ability to access services and move beyond homelessness.”

After the launch, the Homeless Charter will be hosted at SORCe, a one stop location where people can access programs and services unique to their current situation. Through working with agency representatives at SORCe, they are connected to sector-wide, non-discriminatory services, supports and solutions.

“We are proud to display the Homeless Charter of Rights at SORCe,” says Frank Cattoni, Executive Director of SORCe. “This Charter will help our clients understand they are not invisible and that they too have the right to health care, housing and justice.”

The creation of the Homeless Charter of Rights began in January 2014 with a project advisory committee comprised of representatives from health services, law enforcement and community based agencies who provided guidance and recommendations throughout the project. The organizations that participated on the advisory committee were the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the Calgary Drop In Centre, Calgary Police Services, Calgary Legal Guidance, the Canadian Mental Health Association, City of Calgary Animal and Bylaw Services and Vibrant Communities Calgary.

In addition to the Homeless Charter, a short documentary was created on homelessness and discrimination. Do You See Me? provides insight into the experiences of discrimination from those experiencing homelessness as well as observations from those working collectively to end it in our communities.

The Homeless Charter is located here.

Do You See Me? can be viewed here.

About CHF
The Calgary Homeless Foundation acts as a catalyst and enabler for Systems and Service Agencies to optimize client success. CHF focuses on four strategic pillars of work; Advocacy, Research and Development, Systems Planning, and Funding, (outcomes). In addition, CHF addresses gaps and identifies best practices to improve the system of care. Through mobilization of collective impact, CHF is committed to moving forward in partnership with the many homeless-serving agencies, the private sector, government partners, the faith community, other foundations and all Calgarians to end homelessness in Calgary once and for all. For more information, visit calgaryhomeless.com.

About the Alberta Human Rights Commission
In Alberta, the Alberta Human Rights Act protects Albertans from discrimination in certain areas based on specified grounds. The purpose of the Alberta Human Rights Act is to ensure that all Albertans are offered an equal opportunity to earn a living, find a place to live, and enjoy services customarily available to the public without discrimination. The Alberta Human Rights Act establishes the Alberta Human Rights Commission to carry out functions under the act. The Commission is an independent commission created by the Government of Alberta. The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General is responsible for the Commission. The Commission has a two-fold mandate: to foster equality and to reduce discrimination. It fulfills this mandate through public education and community initiatives, through the resolution and settlement of complaints of discrimination, and through human rights tribunal and court hearings. For more information, visithttp://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/.


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