"Let's charge the poor to use homeless shelters - teach them good money mangement!"

Not a joke, apparently, at least not in Alberta:

So the people who are the most down on their luck, on social assistance, and having to sleep in shelters because they don’t have a place of their own, are going to have the money to pay rent? I would have thought they would be spending their money on frivolous things like food.

Whoops - on re-reading the article, I see I’ve incorrectly summarised it - the new policy won’t apply to those who are “the most down on their luck” - the truly “destitute” won’t have to pay. Curious, I would have thought that if you have no place of your own, and are on social assistance, you would be considered “destitute” - must be an Albertan subtlety there that I’m missing.

Does anyone (other than the minister of housing, of course) think this is a good idea? :confused:

My first thought is that Albert should be nuked off the globe.

My second, more pensive, is that money-management skillls ought to be taught to people who…


have money to manage. Like the capitalist dolts to can “lose” any number of millions in a day, then whine about market conditions, do a bribe, and get paid off from the money that was supposed to be set aside for essential social services.

Now I’m back to idea #1. What is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

It is extremely relevent to point out that the money is to be held in trust to help those using the shelters to save for damage deposits and similar costs associated with setting up on their own. To answer your question, yes, some people do think it’s a good idea. To wit:

Dermot Baldwin, executive director of the Calgary Drop-In Centre, indicated on tonights CFCN news that his main concern is the cost of having the Drop-In Centre adminster the collection of those fees. However, he did not proclaim the idea as absurd.

Major Gary Brown of the Salvation Army in Calgary said the idea would be valuable if implemented carefully.

One lady living in one of the local shelters indicated tonight on CFCN news that she believed that it would be very valuable to have those users who have some form of income to contribute a reasonable amount. Her reasoning is that it helps to instill a feeling of contribution.

Provided that it is administered with forethought and on a case-by-case basis, I could see it as being helpful to those who want to get out of the shelters.

Oh, come on now, don’t be so hard on ol’ Ralphie. Why, he’s been known to throw money at the homeless with his very own hand! Now if that’s not compassion, what is?

That whole drunken rant thing that went with it, he didn’t mean a word of it, nosirreebob.

How much are they charging? When I was in grade 10 we did some community work at a local shelter and the ‘residents’ were charged something like R2 (about $0.2) for a night. That seemed reasonable.

I think most shelters around here (Washington, DC) charge to stay there.

I manage a hostel for the homeless, and we charge a weekly amount to all of our residents. Emergency housing such as hostels and shelters is supposed to function as a form of transition between the streets and permanent housing, so it’s therefore important for us to communicate to our residents the importance of prioritising housing costs. We do not charge much, but we do charge enough in order for our residents to have to ensure that they put their ‘rent’ before any personal needs, as most people will need to do in order to keep a home for themselves, myself included.

The support we offer to our residents is enabling them to identify precisely what lead to their becoming homeless in the first place, and then by helping them address those issues. Foremost will be taking personal responsibility for themselves - their physical and mental health, budgeting, or sobriety, for example. By allowing people to ‘opt out’ of contributing to and owning responsibility for themselves and their long-term needs, we would be merely supporting people to continue with a lifestyle that is potentially very dangerous. We have a duty of care to do otherwise.

As the manager, it is part of my job to evict any resident who is consistantly not paying their weekly charge. Not my favourite part of my job, but I know it is important for me, as it is for my staff, to respect our residents enough to expect them to take responsibility for themselves. I also evict for not following the (few) hostel rules, as our residents will need an understanding of what constitutes acceptable behaviour if they are ever to sustain a tenancy. It’s the whole ‘giving a man a fish vs. teaching him to fish’ scenario; we’re slowly teaching our residents how to fish. The weekly charge is an important part of that, and I fully support shelters charging a nominal amount as it’s all part of a larger issue of support, which is more effective in the long term than just offering someone a bed for a night.

This scares me - I think that some homeless may not go to a shelter if they think they may not be able to pay - even if the policy only applies to those who have what is deemed to be enough money.
Calgary during the winter can get nasty sometimes, (-30 to -40 C) despite the chinooks & the mountains.
There has been many cases of the homeless freezing to death or losing limbs or getting pneumonia because of the cold nights.

Also aid programs in Alberta can be a bit whacked - we have the lowest minimum wage - the lowest welfare rate, the lowest wage that makes you eligible for assistance.

Alberta is the province where welfare of the people is frowned upon but corporate welfare to big businesses is considered to be a good thing.

I fear - no I don’t fear - I know Alberta will assess the guy who makes $6 per hour at a 20 h per week job as being able to pay far more than he is able to, and the guy may decide his cardboard box is more affordable & freeze to death.

If they decided to charge for special things such as a semi-private or private sleeping room instead of the great big dorm that the homeless all share - that would be acceptable, but a government who has no understanding of the economics of poverty in this province shouldn’t decide who or what to charge in this issue.

Well it might be more complicated than having a doorman asking for a cover charge… from the article


makes it seem like they’re targeting those coming off the need for shelter assistance programs and doing a partial enforced savings plan. Maybe the idea is to ultimately bank up enough to cover the double whammy of first/last moth rents. There really isn’t a lot here though, the facts are pretty bare.

I haven’t seen an apartment in Calgary for under $600 for a very long time - where except for the homeless shelter can these people afford to live?

Couldn’t they just have them help around the place to make up for not being able to pay?

lexi the issue is why has the provincial gov’t imposed a ridiculous charge on the homeless. Turns out it isn’t really an issue here as it appears to be a common practice in Calgary (and elsewhere by other Doper’s posts.
From The Calgary Sun

Grey, That is what I am talking about - charging for a step up type of arrangement is permittible - charging for a bed is not.

If they are going to impose a fee - they should at least give the people who pay the fee a room.

From what I have heard so far - they will be charging for a bed - not for a transitional room.

Ack - I hate reading the Sun - I more or less skim it because I don’t want to sully my mind with that paper.

If that is journalism then I am the Queen of England.

I didn’t pay attention to the above quote - the article seemed like a high school essay by a gossip mongering little conservative brat who thinks her money buys her correctness in all opinions.

Still bothers me though - first of all the annnouncement of fees was not clear & may have already scared some homeless people into thinking shelters may not help them because they got a small welfare stipend.

Also - I don’t trust this government - I think they may set fees for all users of homeless shelters eventually - and then when less homeless people are in a shelter claim that there are less people who are homeless.

By the way - has anyone noticed the nice condos in Calgary going up on that land that was slated for only healthcare facilites to be built there.

There is still no inner city hospital in Calgary - and where the General Hospital was - was supposed to have only a medical facility go up.

The homeless problem got worse soon after the hospital was tore down & medical rules for the competency of the mentally ill changed.

I am sure not having an inner city hospital saves so much cash that deserves to go to Lazik Eye Centers and private MRI testing facilities.

Yes- this is partially city government - but in Alberta it is one beast - the land where the right is always right wouldn’t have a major who may be a commie or a Liberal.

Ralphy decided that hospitals should be torn down in Alberta - and Calgary decided that the land where the hospital was should be condos.

The piece was an editorial, don’t let that get in the way of your shrill ranting though.

There are few hard facts on this at all, which reflects poorly on the minister responsible. A clarification would be nice. On the surface, however, it seems that this is not a new idea in the area of sheltering the homeless, this is not targeted at those unable to afford it (The Salvation Army take 30% of a person’s income in comparable programs), the minister responsible is thought of poorly by those active in sheltering the homeless and by those …what was that balanced, rational phrase of yours?..

In short, it would be nothing new. You may now slump back and dream of other outrages.