The #YYC Pull-a-thon is here!

IMG-20131012-WA0000The carts are designed. The message has been made. Our Shopping Cart Hero, Aaron DeBoer, is (more or less) physically prepared. Onwards!

Catch the entire thing, this Sunday, October 20th, all day. Aaron will be tugging this shopping cart train up and down the bicycle path on the Bow River, between Crowchild Trail and the East Village, for 10 hours. Help spread the word!

Let’s pull together to end homelessness in Calgary!

(Photo Courtesy of Aaron DeBoer)


Become a Shopping Cart Ally!

Shopping Cart

Wanting to demonstrate the fact that if we all pull together we could end homelessness in our society, CHES is putting on a ‘Pull-a-Thon‘ on October 20th. Aaron, our COO, will be pulling a tandem set of shopping carts for 10 hours straight back and forth along the Calgary Bow River bicycle path from Crowchild Trail to the East Village. As well, in addition to spreading our message, we will also be encouraging Calgarians to come down, get their picture taken while “pulling” the carts AND to make him work harder by filling up the shopping carts with non-perishable food items. These items will then be donated to the Calgary Food Bank.

But, in order to make this endeavor a huge success, we need your help!

We hope that you will help us spread the word by passing along the details of our event to anyone who you believe may be supportive of our cause. And, if you have a half an hour free that day, we would love to welcome you as a “Shopping Cart Ally” to walk along the pathway with Aaron. It will be a fun way to stand up for a cause, donate to the Calgary Food Bank, and get a little exercise all at the same time. I believe they call that win-win ~ so come on out and join us!

At this time we would like to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit more information about the focus of our agency and services. With the Calgary 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in full swing, it has been shown that an individual can successfully make the transition from homelessness into a safe living environment. However, a safe living environment is just the initial step toward long-term independent living and alone does not ensure that an individual fully integrates back into society. Supports, designed to remove all barriers, beyond just lack of housing, are also required. Providing an individual with supports such as Homeless Legal Advocacy and Supported Employment services, in conjunction with mainstream services such as housing, addiction and mental health supports is the surest way to ensure independent living is achieved.

If you would like more information on how to get involved, please email Aaron at or visit our website at

I would like to thank you up front for taking the time and effort to help us in this endeavor.

Your support is greatly appreciated!

  • One person can make a difference
  • Choose to be one of those people

(Image Courtesy of

A Pull-a-Thon for Homelessness

custom-shopping-cartOn October 20th our Chief Operations Officer, Aaron DeBoer, will be conducting a public awareness event designed to bring attention to the fact that homelessness is something that can be eradicated from our society. With the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in full swing, it has already been shown that an individual can successfully make the transition from homelessness into a safe living environment. However, housing first is just the beginning and does not alone ensure an individual fully integrates  back into society. Supports, designed to remove other barriers, beyond housing, are also required. We believe it is now time to begin focusing on these supplementary supports. Providing an individual with Homeless Legal Advocacy and Supported Employment services in conjunction with the mainstream services such as housing, addiction and mental health supports is the only way to ensure all barriers to independent living are removed. Our support systems need to recognize the importance of these other supports and make these community integration services a priority.     

To demonstrate the burden of homelessness, and the long road ahead, Aaron will be pulling a tandem set of shopping carts for 10 hours straight (8am – 6pm) along the Bow River bicycle path (south) from Crowchild Trail to the East Village in Calgary. He is doing this in order to raise awareness around the fact that, as a nation, if we chose to we could end homelessness. We encourage everyone to take a 1/2 an hour out of your day to come on down to the pathway and provide your support. Have your picture taken while helping to pull the carts, watch Aaron struggle, make a donation, AND most importantly fill up the shopping carts with non perishable food items that will then be donated to the Calgary Food Bank. (Remember… the more food items placed in the carts the harder he has to work!)

We are also encouraging anyone interested in supporting Calgary Housing & Employment Services in this endeavor to contact us by direct Facebook message or to email us at to register for an official pledge drive sheet. All proceeds collected, based on the number of hours Aaron is able to pull the carts, will go directly towards the CHES – Supported Employment Program (SEP). For more information on SEP, or any of our other programs, please visit us at or check out the Facebook Event Page!

Together we can ensure everyone has the supports needed to live in a home!

Calgary Housing & Employment is Hosting a Fundraiser on Behalf of Sean Chu on October 1, 2013!


Calgary Housing and Employment is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a fundraiser for Sean Chu on October 1, 2013. Sean is a candidate for Ward 4 in the upcoming civic election. Sean has been an active officer with the Calgary Police Service for over twenty years. He has seen first-hand how homelessness affects citizens, emergency services and the agencies who serve this population. Sean has long advocated on behalf of preventative programs that are offered in this city and remains a steadfast supporter of Alberta’s 10 year plan to end homelessness. It is our agency’s pleasure to host this fundraiser on behalf of Sean Chu and his campaign team and we hope to be joined by all of you. Information for tickets is provided above. As always, Thanks!

Last Week to Vote for Us!

Earlier we posted about an exciting new enterprise that we are in a competition to get funding for – our Mobile Green Team! Our Green Team social enterprise is designed to be a direct service for our clients who have transitioned out of homelessness – it provides them a valuable work experience, and is environmentally-friendly. Best of both worlds!

We need you help in this competition!


Voting ends August 31st, 2013, so help us get as much support as possible!

Thank You BuzzMeter!!

538970_238815262931831_83481193_nCalgary Housing and Employment were the lucky winners of BuzzMeter’s Social Media Makeover contest. Our experience working closely with their team could not have gone any better. From our initial conference call to the finished product they completely exceeded all of our expectations.

Prior to winning the contest our organization maintained a minimal online presence. BuzzMeter’s team identified for us, areas in which we could use improvement and more importantly, how to reach a broader audience. Our website was a simple static one-page that had very little information on who we were and the services we provide. BuzzMeter completely overhauled the infrastructure we had in place and developed a website that is not only informative but also very user friendly and easy to navigate through.

A simple “Thank You” is not adequate enough to express how thrilled we are to have gone through this process with BuzzMeter’s team. Not only did they do an absolutely wonderful job on our makeover, they also took the time to equip us with the information and tools we need moving forward to maintain our online presence. Our organization will always be very grateful for the work BuzzMeter has done for us and it is our pleasure to recommend the services that BuzzMeter provides. Their creativity and knowledge of the industry has already started to pay dividends for us and we are looking forward to maintaining a working relationship with them as we move forward. Thank You BuzzMeter!!

Jamie Lall, BA
Chief Executive Officer
Calgary Housing & Employment Services
3751 – 21 Street NE, Calgary, AB, T2E 6T5
Direct: 403-891-5255

Help Us Gain Funding From Field Law By Voting For Our Submission!


Our idea is a Social Enterprise called the “Green Team”, which will make Calgary a cleaner city while supporting individuals who are transitioning from homelessness into independent living. The “Green Team” will be a mobile, eco-friendly clean up and landscaping unit staffed by 4-5 of our previously homeless clients. Working under our Team Lead, this crew will contract with independent organizations to provide on-site maintenance duties (building site and parking lot clean up, raking, manual powered lawn mowing, snow removal, and other services). This Green Team initiative will become one of the specific projects within our Progressive Supported Employment Program at Calgary Housing & Employment Services (CHES).

After being homeless, sometimes for years, our clients often have access to housing, stabilizing mainstream services and even life & essential skills training; however, proper engagement in the labour market, the final component of community integration, often eludes them. Our Green Team seeks to fill this gap. Instead of simply graduating from a housing first program directly into unsupported employment, our clients will benefit from working for three months with a knowledgeable and supportive employer. Our clients will receive a fair living wage, great work experience, individualized job coaching, and mentorship in a very accommodating work environment, strategically tailored for individuals transitioning out of homelessness.

Another function of this initiative is to collaborate with employers in order to foster allies to our cause. The Green Team will intentionally contract work with employers who have the capacity to hire our clients once their employment has been completed with us. With the opportunity to show potential employers, and the community in general, how beneficial working with our clients can be, the Green Team becomes our quintessential flagship and ambassador of good will for our cause while making Calgary a more vibrant and inclusive city.


The Green Team will provide significant benefits to three groups:

  1. Our Homeless Clients
  2. Companies that the enterprise serves
  3. The City of Calgary

The Green Team provides a direct benefit to our previously homeless clients, particularly through their participation in a supportive work environment. Our clients are given an opportunity to obtain 3 months of work experience while learning valuable life and essential skills.

With the supports we provide, both on the job and through our other agency services, our clients will be able to gain confidence towards full engagement in the labour market.

Our company partners also directly benefit, as they are able to get eco-friendly, cost effective services aimed at keeping their premises tidy, clean, and safe. This includes spatial clean up services, lawn, gardening, and maintenance services in the summer and snow-shoveling, de-icing, and cleaning services in the winter.

However, we believe another major beneficiary of this enterprise will be the broader community. The Green Team’s larger goal is to change the face of homelessness. By engaging our clients with work throughout Calgary, we are working together to break down stereotypes and marginalization. Often, the stigma associated with homelessness is a major barrier for individuals attempting to make positive changes in their lives – this often presents itself as the ‘not in my backyard’ attitude.

The Green Team provides a highly visible reminder that with proper support and accommodation, some of the most vulnerable people can become strong members of our communities. In addition, as a Social Enterprise, all revenue generated by the Green Team will go back into the program. This will ensure more individuals are able to take advantage of this opportunity to get back into the workforce.

Click here to vote for us