Calgary is a generous, giving and resilient community. We support our neighbours, rally when under pressure and get back up when knocked down – it’s what we’re known for. This has never been more evident than during the past year in our city.
It was during this economic downturn that our organization, HomeSpace Society, was launched. HomeSpace Society is a charitable real estate developer, rental housing owner and property manager that exists to increase access to safe, appropriate, affordable housing for vulnerable Calgarians. We partner with over 15 social service agencies to provide housing with supports to 600+ residents throughout 20 communities. We are one of many collaborators in the affordable housing sector in our city and as of October 1, we celebrated our first anniversary.
Our first year saw huge growth for our organization. We broke ground on a new affordable housing development, completed construction on two more, and received an approved development permit for an additional development to be completed in early 2019. Our ability for growth during a tough economic time in our city has never been more important for the vulnerable Calgarians that we serve.
This growth is due to a number of factors, one being our strong relationships with the private sector that has allowed us to create more housing options for Calgarians. Through the collaborative RESOLVE Campaign, we are the beneficiary of funding from local Calgary home builders and private donors who have provided us with financial contributions and development expertise, allowing us to develop more units of affordable housing. Their support has been vital to our growth and ability to expand our services to more people.
Another factor of our success is the support we receive from everyday Calgarians who understand the need for a variety of housing options in all communities and who choose to positively welcome affordable housing in their neighbourhoods. Calgarians, by and large, are accepting and generous individuals, quick to lend a hand to their fellow Calgarians in need. That said, we don’t always face acceptance and hospitality with our developments and, in fact, our greatest challenge to growth continues to be opposition from a small group who may not fully understand the value of diverse housing options in all communities. We will continue to educate and inform all Calgarians on the richness that housing options can bring to all communities in our city.
At HomeSpace, we believe that there is a Home for Everyone in our Community. Our residents are the focus of our work and their successes are fully aligned with our successes as an organization. We are grateful for the individuals and families that have chosen HomeSpace as a place to create a home and we are honored to serve them by creating the opportunity to build community and provide access to safe, affordable, permanent rental housing.
As we move into our second year and beyond, we will continue to provide housing for our community’s most vulnerable, to develop more affordable housing for those who do not already have this basic of needs and remain dedicated to advocating and creating opportunities for dialogue and discussion around affordable housing in our city.
Calgary has made great advances in the affordable housing sector in recent years. By example, the establishment of a Community Housing Affordability Collective to improve housing affordability through collaboration and advocacy; the implementation by The City of Calgary of a Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy – Foundations for Home; the launch of Calgary’s Updated Plan to End Homelessness – I Heart Home YYC; the collaborative RESOLVE campaign; and the countless initiatives by housing providers and social agencies that have and continue to work tirelessly to provide affordable housing and support services to those at risk in our community. We should be proud of our collective actions as a city that demonstrate Calgarians are committed to providing for our vulnerable citizens. Our community has so much to be proud of – but there is still work to be done.
Volunteering with a housing provider or support agency is a wonderful way to learn more about the critical work these organizations are doing each and every day. Donating to a local organization can help these professionals advance their work by expanding their capacity and ability to provide more housing options and more services to residents. Finally, by making your voice heard and declaring your support for housing options in all communities for all Calgarians, we can ensure that the affordable housing agenda is a topic of conversation. Communities can thrive through their diversity and inclusion. At HomeSpace, we believe that there is a Home for Everyone in Our Community. Help us make this a reality.
Bernadette Majdell, President & CEO