The National Coalition for the Homeless in New York recently completed a study exploring “why are so many people homeless.” They learned that the roots of modern homelessness can be traced back to changes in the housing stock, particularly single room housing for low-income people.

Dusty SRO photo

Dusty lives at the Drop-In. He used to live in a SRO next to the Drop-In that was demolished in favor of downtown parking.

“The most significant single change in New York City’s housing stock during the emergence of modern homelessness was the extraordinary reduction in the number of single-room housing units.

Since the early part of the century, single-room housing — which includes single-room occupancy (SRO) units and residential hotels, typically with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities — had played an essential role in providing low-cost housing for poor single adults, childless couples, and even families.”  Source:

Calgary’s experience is very similar. Since the 1970’s, our inner city has been gentrified; more than 56 hotels / motels have been demolished; rooming houses were lost; entire tracts of inner city housing was demolished; and many bachelor apartments have “gone condo”. In the absence of low income housing, many Calgarians became homeless.

As shared by the National Coalition on Homelessness, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” Please support the development of affordable housing in Calgary.