One of the sad – and urgent – facts of Calgary life is the perceived increase in visible homelessness. It is a long-term problem that is being met with solid and effective solutions.
“Our homeless-serving system of care is recognized as one of the best in Canada and draws positive international attention,” explains Diana Krecsy, president and CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). “The state of being homeless is not the problem, it is a symptom of a problem, or most often a compounding of several problems that have not been effectively prevented or managed.”
She points out that most of Calgary’s homelessness falls into three general categories: relational (personal crisis, traumatic event, mental or physical illness, or substance misuse), public system failure (health, justice, children’s services, etc.) and structural problems (unemployment, discrimination, poverty and, too often, lack of affordable housing).
The challenge of adequate affordable housing in Calgary received a significant boost recently with the exciting announcement of The James House – an affordable housing project that will support individuals exiting homelessness.
Krecsy explains the much-needed housing will be a stable place of belonging for 27 people who will be given a new lease on life to build a better future and a place to call home. The project is a collaboration between CHF, its housing partner HomeSpace Society and Calgary’s RESOLVE Campaign (dynamically committed to ending homelessness in Calgary), and has received an unprecedented joint commitment from the Government of Canada (CMHC) and the Government of Alberta, as well as support from the City of Calgary.
Krecsy emphasizes The James House, scheduled for a summer 2020 completion, is also made possible through the generous commitment of philanthropic donors.
“The Logel Homes and Cardel Lifestyles team is honoured to have the opportunity to build a new building for people experiencing homelessness in Calgary,” says Tim Logel, president and CEO of Logel Homes and president and co-founder of Cardel Lifestyles. “As homebuilders, we see every day the importance for everyone to have a place they can call home, for both safety and stability, and improved sense of community.
“When we started building for the marketplace, we made it our goal to build for the community,” Logel says. “We take care of our customers, our employees, our trades and suppliers, so to give the company a deeper meaning we needed a plan to give back to the community – which is why we are so excited to give back to the RESOLVE Campaign.”
The James House honours the homebuilding legacy of Tim Logel’s late father, James. “He would be honoured to have his name on a building that helps those in need of a home.”
Krecsy underscores the impact of homelessness solutions like The James House are not only vital but crucial. “The overarching approach to all new permanent supportive housing is based on a ‘people-first’ approach and a ‘housing as a human rights’ framework. Anyone and everyone who experiences homelessness is worthy of having access to a safe, affordable and appropriate space to call home with the support they need to thrive – a home where they can achieve well-being and become a valued member of our community.”