Homelessness in Alberta: The Demand for Spaces in Alberta's Homeless Shelters

11 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2011

See all articles by Ronald D. Kneebone

Ronald D. Kneebone

University of Calgary - The School of Public Policy; University of Calgary - Department of Economics

J. C. Herbert Emery

University of Calgary - Department of Economics

Oksana Grynishak

University of Calgary

Date Written: September 28, 2011

Abstract

Homelessness in Alberta is overwhelmingly concentrated in Calgary and Edmonton, with almost two-thirds of total provincial shelter usage in the former. Calgary also experiences much greater fluctuations in shelter use. Three interconnected economic factors — the supply of rental accommodations, the state of the labour market and the inward flow of jobseekers — go a long way toward explaining both Calgary’s unusually large share of Alberta’s homeless as well as the swings in shelter use. Calgary has proportionately less than half as many rental units as Edmonton and this gap is widening. Simultaneously, Calgary, more than any other Canadian city, attracts a significant share of migrants during times of economic growth increasing demand for affordable housing and then shelter space when the availability of housing approaches zero. The recent fall in shelter use in Calgary (and so Alberta) may therefore prove temporary should a recovering economy attract more arrivals and so drive up shelter use again. The provincial government’s recent efforts to increase the stock of affordable housing are appropriate but greater progress could be made if it devised ways to enlist the energy and efficiency of the private sector to expand Calgary’s rental market.

Keywords: homeless, homelessness, Calgary, Edmonton, homeless shelter, affordable housing

JEL Classification: H53, I31, I38

Suggested Citation

Kneebone, Ron and Emery, J. C. Herbert and Grynishak, Oksana, Homelessness in Alberta: The Demand for Spaces in Alberta's Homeless Shelters (September 28, 2011). SPP Research Paper No. 11-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1940540 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1940540

Ron Kneebone (Contact Author)

University of Calgary - The School of Public Policy

Calgary, Alberta
Canada

University of Calgary - Department of Economics ( email )

2500 University Drive, NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

J. C. Herbert Emery

University of Calgary - Department of Economics ( email )

2500 University Drive, NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada
403 2205489 (Phone)
403 2825262 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.ucalgary.ca/emery.htm

Oksana Grynishak

University of Calgary ( email )

University Drive
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
123
Abstract Views
816
rank
254,451
PlumX Metrics