Calgary, Alta (Sept. 24, 2020) – Approximately 40 Calgarians will be moved out of homelessness and into long-term housing by March 31, 2021, thanks to a new bridge housing program in a Martindale apartment building. The program will see individuals receive temporary housing at Kootenay Lodge with on-site support services so they can quickly and successfully move from the emergency shelter system into independent living. This new 10-unit building is made possible as part of a collaboration between Calgary Homeless Foundation, HomeSpace Society and The Mustard Seed, and is especially important given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Sept. 17, 2020, The Mustard Seed began receiving referrals to the building with staggered move-ins to follow. Individuals who have experienced homelessness for less than one year will move from an emergency shelter to Kootenay Lodge before relocating to a home. The program is targeted at individuals who face financial barriers, or low to moderate physical or mental health challenges. During their stay, a diversion advocate will provide on-site support with system navigation, help individuals secure financial supports, look for appropriate accommodation, and connect them with landlords to support their journey into independent housing.

Diverting people out of their experience of homelessness into a home is the best solution for the health of the individual and the community as a whole during the health crisis presented by COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that, now more than ever, housing is essential for health. As an immediate response, we have strengthened our partnerships in community to create collective solutions through coordination and collaboration to prevent and end homelessness for Calgarians as quickly and efficiently as possible— including this partnership with The Mustard Seed and HomeSpace,” says Matt Nomura, Vice President of Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care, Calgary Homeless Foundation. “No two stories or pathways into homelessness are the same. An individual’s journey towards recovery requires a spectrum of services to support their successful exit out of homelessness.”

The Mustard Seed will support the individuals during their time at the Kootenay Lodge, and throughout their transition as they move to their new home.

“The Mustard Seed is proud to offer multifaceted wraparound services to quickly facilitate moving individuals out of homelessness. We have a Resident Engagement worker on site to facilitate move-ins and move-outs, as well as ensure adherence to COVID precautions in place to protect residents. We also have a Diversion Advocate on site, who will assist in the housing journey, providing resources and system navigation for clients to smoothly transition into permanent housing,” said Samantha Lowe, Health and Wellness Manager, The Mustard Seed.

The Diversion Bridge Housing Program estimates that individuals will stay an average of 21-60 days at Kootenay Lodge before moving into stable long-term housing.

“HomeSpace is committed to creating more affordable housing so vulnerable people can rebuild their lives from a place of dignity and safety,“ says Bernadette Majdell, CEO, HomeSpace Society. “This new bridge housing program at HomeSpace’s Kootenay Lodge is a perfect example of innovative collaboration to help address the urgent needs of our city.”

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INTERVIEWS:

Available on Sept. 24, 2020 date, between 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., with additional interviews available upon request:

  • Bernadette Majdell, CEO, HomeSpace Society
  • Matt Nomura, Vice President, Homeless-Serving System of Care, Calgary Homeless Foundation
  • Samantha Lowe, Health and Wellness Manager, The Mustard Seed

About Calgary Homeless Foundation

Calgary Homeless Foundation serves as the centralized planner for 22 homeless-serving agencies in Calgary. As an accountable steward of government and private funding, we find innovative and evidence-based solutions for Albertans at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Through system coordination, research and data, accountability and responsible funding allocation, we address gaps and define best practices, and have housed over 10,000 people in Calgary since 2008. Our collaborative model involves partnerships with all orders of government, public systems, homeless-serving agencies, the private sector, faith-based communities, foundations, and Calgarians. Grounded in fiscal responsibility, our solution-focused, one-of-a-kind approach ensures that Calgary’s resources are allocated in a cost-effective manner to provide a full spectrum of services, solutions, and permanent housing for all Calgarians. For more information, visit www.calgaryhomeless.com

About HomeSpace Society

HomeSpace is a charitable real estate developer, rental housing owner and property manager. We provide supportive and affordable housing for the most vulnerable Calgarians and own a portfolio of more than 550 units throughout Calgary. We partner with several social-service agencies to provide supports to the more than 700 residents in our buildings. We have completed construction on seven buildings in the last five years and currently have five more in various stages of development. We are committed to continue to create more affordable housing to address the urgent need in our city. For more information, visit HomeSpace.org

About The Mustard Seed

The Mustard Seed is a Christian non-profit organization that has been caring for men, women, and children experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness since 1984. The Mustard Seed provides a supportive haven where we support the whole person through delivering basic services, housing, wellness services, employment programs, and partners with the community to address the root causes of poverty. Visit the TheSeed.ca.

 

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Calgary Homeless Foundation

Megan Donnelly

Communications  Specialist

Media Phone: 403-615-7607

Email: media@calgaryhomeless.com

 

HomeSpace Society

Hayley Gislason

Communications Advisor

Phone: 587-320-1550

Email: hayley@homespace.org

 

The Mustard Seed

Felicia Kocsis

Communications Coordinator Team Lead

Phone: 587-832-2372

Email: FeliciaKocsis@theseed.ca