The Alberta Nonprofit Innovation Awards celebrate those who have challenged the status quo and inspired others with creative and disruptive solutions to address enduring community challenges.
For Calgary’s second-stage shelters – Brenda Strafford Centre, Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society and Sonshine Community Services – that challenge was the one facing vulnerable Calgarians when transitioning from emergency shelter to longer-term housing.
The Shared Intake and Referral Program began in 2015 as a partnership between the three agencies as a coordinated response to homelessness in Calgary – specifically for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
Before the Shared Intake and Referral Program was in place, women had to initiate the process of finding second-stage housing for themselves and their children after their emergency shelter stay. This meant submitting applications to multiple shelters and sitting on multiple waitlists, a tedious process that increases client stress and anxiety and has detrimental effects on pre-existing traumas and mental health.
With the Shared Intake and Referral Program, clients only have to apply once and are placed on a single waiting list until a unit becomes available in one of the three shelters. The program has been extremely successful, decreasing wait times for intake, reducing administrative costs and reducing client stress and trauma.
The 2019 Alberta Nonprofit Innovation Awards reception took place on Oct. 3, with the awards going to CUPS, Fresh Routes and Goodwill Alberta. Top-ten finalists included Aspen Family and Community Network Society, Centre for Newcomers, Give a Mile, Immigrant Services Calgary, Indefinite Arts Centre, and Land Stewardship Centre. Discovery House is proud to have been nominated along with program partners Brenda Strafford and Sonshine, and all the other finalists.