Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, homeless shelters are particularly high-risk locations for outbreak. With nearly 3,000 vulnerable citizens experiencing homelessness and thousands more at risk, shelters are crowded with limited opportunities for patrons to practice social distancing or health officials’ recommended hygiene measures.
HomeSpace and Inn from the Cold found an opportunity to work together to help ease the pressure on the shelter. Our team has worked diligently to get recently vacated units ready for families with children. Four of the 16 families currently staying at Inn from the Cold have moved already, with the opportunity for more families to move in the coming days as units become ready. The families will continue to receive supports from Inn from the Cold outreach staff.
“We are doing everything we can to find ways to protect vulnerable people in our city from COVID-19,” says Bernadette Majdell, CEO, HomeSpace. “Housing is, and always has been, a vital part of health care. With one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, the families placed will have the ability to practice isolation and social distancing like the majority of other Calgarians who have a roof over their head.”
“Providing shelter to families also means sheltering them from potential harm,” says Heather Morley, Executive Director at Inn from the Cold. “It also means pursuing creative solutions in the community and we’re glad to have a collaborative partner like HomeSpace.”
Sometimes timing works out! HomeSpace also recently completed six months of major renovations on one of our buildings – Sunalta Lodging House. Previous residents moved to other locations prior to construction, and now we are pleased to announce all 32 units will be used as COVID-19 emergency housing for vulnerable Calgarians. We are working with our partners the Calgary Homeless Foundation and other agencies to move new residents in as soon as possible.
While HomeSpace alone does not have spaces for all the people and families in need of housing, the risk of spreading germs greatly decreases with less people staying in shelters and more physical space between them. Hotels and churches in Calgary have also been offered up to answer the call from shelters and governments are working hard to create other emergency spaces for people experiencing homelessness.
Calgary is short an estimated 15,000 affordable homes to meet the demand. With the threat of COVID-19, the need for more affordable housing in Calgary has never been more apparent.
About HomeSpace Society
HomeSpace is a charitable real estate developer, rental housing owner and property manager. We provide safe, appropriate and affordable housing for the most vulnerable Calgarians, and own a portfolio of more than 550 units of housing throughout Calgary. We partner with 16 social serving community agencies to provide supports to the more than 700 residents in our 27 buildings. We have completed construction on seven buildings in the last few years and currently have five more buildings in various stages of development. We have a strong growth mandate to continue to add affordable housing in our city. For more information, visit HomeSpace.org
About Inn from the Cold
Inn from the Cold (IFTC) integrates a housing-first philosophy into all its programs and services to assist families in housing crisis to achieve independence. From diversion and prevention, to emergency shelter and housing with supports, IFTC provides a robust continuum of care designed to address poverty, homelessness and housing insecurity. Working collaboratively within Calgary’s family sector of the homeless-serving system of care, IFTC’s social return on investment provides a $4.63 of social and economic value for every dollar invested in its emergency shelter and housing programs. Visit innfromthecold.org for more information.
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Inn from the Cold
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