Canmore Conference to Focus on Rural Homelessness

Calgary Herald, October 22, 2018

Postmedia News

Academics, architects, housing developers, government officials and service providers will gather in Canmore this week for a national conference focused on homelessness in rural and remote communities.

The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN), which is hosting the event, said the Canadian Rural and Remote Housing and Homelessness Symposium will shine a spotlight on the issue of homelessness outside of urban centres.

“Homelessness and a lack of affordable housing is a significant issue in rural and remote communities,” Dee Ann Benard, executive director of the ARDN, said in a news release.

“However, urban, rural, and Indigenous communities are intimately connected in this country, so we must address these issues everywhere to make progress anywhere.”

The symposium, which organizers say is the first national event of its kind, will feature more than 50 sessions with speakers from across the country. Presentations, discussions and workshops will focus on issues including First Nations, Metis and Inuit housing and homelessness, modular design and sustainability in rural affordable housing development, food security and rural transportation.

Keynote speakers at the event include Derek Ballantyne, chair of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Order of Canada recipient Arlene Hache.

The rural development network offered bursaries to allow people who have experienced homelessness to attend the conference.

Benard said she hopes the symposium will bring housing and homelessness issues in rural and remote parts of Canada “to the forefront where they belong.”

“Working together with the cities to find solutions to poverty, we can collectively help people in need, no matter where they are,” she said.

The conference takes place from Oct. 24 to 26.