What an exciting year we had at HomeSpace! It was our first full year of operations as an independent organization and this past year was spent focusing on our core business – managing the 25 properties that we own, developing new buildings to increase the affordable housing stock in our city, and streamlining processes to increase efficiencies.
Our property operations team grew by three employees this year as a result of an increase in the number of units in our portfolio – just shy of 500 as of March 31, 2018. We outsourced a number of services to streamline operations in our properties, including our cleaning services to Picture Perfect Cleaning, and our in-house property maintenance team continues to provide expert services at all 25 of our properties. In addition, HomeSpace has expanded our Housing Liaison model to almost half of our buildings. As representatives of HomeSpace, our Housing Liaisons work with both residents and agencies to ensure successful housing outcomes. There is even keen interest from other non-market housing providers in replicating this Housing Liaison model and HomeSpace is actively working with these groups to share learning and advice on implementing similar programs throughout the sector. We also partnered with a new agency, the SHARP Foundation, to support the residents at Murray’s House, bringing the total number of agencies we partner with to 16. All of this was accomplished while continuing to provide professional property management to our nearly 700 residents in over 20 communities.
Our housing portfolio grew this year as the result of the opening of two new buildings with 23 units each. In May 2017, because of the generous support of Shane Homes Ltd. and NUOVO by Shane Homes through the RESOLVE Campaign, and the Government of Alberta, HomeSpace celebrated the opening of The Prelude in Radisson Heights, a 23-unit permanent affordable apartment building in Albert Park/Radisson Heights. Supports for the residents in this building are provided by The Alex with funding from the Calgary Homeless Foundation. Then ,in December, another 23-unit affordable apartment building was opened in the community of South Calgary. This new building was made possible by the generous support of David and Leslie Bissett through the RESOLVE Campaign, and the Government of Alberta. Supports are provided by HomeSpace’s newest agency partner, the SHARP foundation with funding from the Calgary Homeless Foundation. In addition to these new buildings, HomeSpace acquired a site in Renfrew and broke ground on The Maple in December. This new development will eventually become home to 26 individuals when completed in late 2018 and is made possibly by the generous support of Homes by Avi Group of Companies and the Government of Alberta. Just before March 31 year end, we closed on yet another site, this one in Bowness. This site will be home to The Clayton, a 30-unit permanent affordable apartment building made possible by Jayman BUILT and the Government of Alberta, with completion expected in summer 2019.
On top of this tremendous growth, HomeSpace was the successful applicant for three parcels of land being disposed of by The City of Calgary for non-market housing development. In February, The City of Calgary gave official approval for the sale of these sites to HomeSpace, and we have developed plans for close to 140 new units of housing between the three locations. We are excited for the year ahead as we work on approvals for these developments and hopefully break ground before the end of this fiscal year.
Our first full year of operations has been focused on building community partnerships, streamlining operations and focusing on our core business – creating a Home for Everyone in our Community. We celebrated our first anniversary last October by holding celebration lunches at each and every one of our buildings – spending time with our residents and agency partner staff – and thanking them for choosing HomeSpace to make their home. We nearly doubled our team with additions to Property Operations and Administration departments, and we increased the size of our Board – all due to the growth in our housing portfolio over this last year. We continue to review the types of housing that we offer for the sector and strive to be nimble in our approach – ensuring that we are always meeting the needs of our community.