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Medicine Hat Alberta

From Charity to Investment in Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

About My City: Medicine Hat

Facts on Poverty and Homelessness in Medicine Hat As of 2007, it is estimated that 1,617 individuals and families are at risk of homelessness in the city of Medicine Hat. In 2007-08 the Salvation Army Family Support Centre admitted 1,938 individuals into the shelter for an average of 7.3 nights per person. Approximately one-quarter of the people who stay at the Salvation Army Family Support Centre are from Medicine Hat, but they were unable to maintain the housing they had. From Fall 2003 to Fall 2007, the rental vacancy rate dropped 65% to an overall vacancy rate of 1.7%. Changes to rent supplement programs have reduced waiting lists for social housing to 71 as of July 2008 with the average wait time approximately 6 months. Increasing utility rates and the rising cost of food and shelter are placing many families at risk of homelessness. Average monthly rent for 1-bedroom is $560; for a 2-bedroom is $670 and for a 3-bedroom is $766 in the city.. CMHC and Statistics Canada report an annual growth rate of 2.2% for Medicine Hat since the year 2000. Although this figure is often not acknowledged, the rate rivals Calgary at 2.3% and definitely places a strain on housing and social resources. The gap between the rich and poor in Medicine Hat is widening. In 2005, those families in the top 10% income earners made at least $139,000 (an increase of 22.5% since 2001). Those in the bottom 10% income bracket made at most $24,400 (an increase of 17.5% since 2001). The top bracket made almost 6 times the lowest, and that gap increased by almost 4% between 2001 and 2005.[1]

About My Organization: From Charity to Investment in Medicine Hat

Moving from Charity to Investment is the goal of poverty reduction work in Medicine Hat. The gap between the rich and poor in Medicine Hat is widening. In 2005, those families in the top 10% income earners made at least $139,000 (an increase of 22.5% since 2001). Those in the bottom 10% income bracket made at most $24,400 (an increase of 17.5% since 2001). The top bracket made almost 6 times the lowest, and that gap increased by almost 4% between 2001 and 2005.

My Collaborative: Reducing the Cost of Poverty in Medicine Hat

The Medicine Hat roundtable for poverty reduction began its work in June 2011. Over 120 individuals from the business community, people with lived experience, service providers and elected officials have had input to the process. In the winter of 2012, the United Way, Community Foundation and community housing foundation gave funds to complete the research report. In spring 2016, a researcher was contracted to update this 2013 report and to facilitate the development of a community action plan. Community consultation took place throughout the summer and fall of 2016. Input from over 500 residents informed the new and updated plan. THRIVE: Medicine Hat and Region Strategy to End Poverty and Increase Wellbeing was released to the community on February 15, 2017.