News & Stories


Calgarians need more than just a house – they need a home.

August 1, 2023

By Inam Teja, Student Analyst, Calgary Drop-In Centre  

Calgary is simultaneously facing a housing supply crisis, a toxic drug crisis, and a cost-of-living crisis – it’s going to take our whole community working together to ensure that Calgary is a place where everyone has a home amid these challenges.

Why I Care About Home: A Personal Mission 

I grew up in Calgary, on Treaty 7 Territory, and I have watched this city grow with me. I love this place and all its green parks, teal rivers, and pink sunrises. Calgary is my home, it’s the place I love most in the world.

When I say that Calgary is home, I don’t just mean the physical place where I live, but also the place where I feel safe, where I feel like I belong. Home is intrinsically tied to safety and identity, to the point that it is considered a fundamental human right.

And when I talk about love, I tend to borrow bell hooks’ definition: to intentionally extend oneself for the growth of another. Love takes hard work, it’s dynamic, and it requires intentional action. When I say that I love Calgary, it’s not a just a platitude that tells people about how I feel, but rather a statement of my intentions, of my mission.
I have had the privilege of growing up in a loving home in Calgary – a place that welcomed my immigrant parents and gave me space learn and explore. It’s a place where changemakers can get together and make amazing things happen – just think of how fast we built our city back after the 2013 floods! But it’s also a place facing a housing supply crisis, a toxic drug crisis, and a cost-of-living crisis. I can’t claim to love Calgary if I’m not working to ensure that every Calgarian can have a home in the city where they live.

Improving our City through Policy and Research: Working at the DI 

So, what does that work look like? I have spent the last year at the University of Oxford doing my master’s in public policy, focusing on housing and homelessness policy. For the capstone project of my degree program, I am spending the summer at the Calgary Drop-In Centre as a Policy & Research Analyst. In my role, I will be examining current policies, providing insights from academic literature, and crafting evidence-based policy proposals. By assessing the efficacy of existing programs, pinpointing gaps in service delivery, and engaging with stakeholders at various levels, I intend to develop comprehensive and sustainable policy recommendations.
My job will not just be sitting at a desk; it extends to actively engaging with our community to understand the unique challenges, needs, and aspirations of the people in our city. I will also be interacting with other organizations who share our goals, and building relationships with the leaders in our community to find the policy champions who can push our city forward.

Driving Change: The Power of Teamwork 

I am a big believer in the power of teamwork. Getting every Calgarian a home is a monumental task that demands the collective efforts of dedicated organizations, passionate individuals, and proactive policymakers. I hope to use this blog to start conversations among various members of our community, by sharing updates on the progress of our policy work, insights from the field, and ideas that need some feedback to get sharper. My goal is that this platform becomes a source of inspiration for others to join in our quest to build a community that leaves no room for homelessness, that each one of us can proudly call our hometown.


Author’s Bio 
Inam (he/they) is a passionate Calgarian, armed with a master’s in public policy from Oxford, tackling solutions to our city’s biggest problems. Inam is keen to connect with bold changemakers in our community to work together on shaping the future of Calgary.