Calgary’s Aurora on the Park welcomes first tenants
The affordable and supportive housing project will change the lives of 25 (now formerly) homeless Calgarians
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Permanent housing first, personal challenges later.
That’s the philosophy of nine social service agencies in Calgary that have come together to create affordable housing for homeless Calgarians, under the Resolve campaign.
Resolve’s third housing project, Aurora on the Park, is expecting its first tenants to move in as early as Nov. 25. The affordable apartment building will house 25 people transitioning out of homelessness.
“(Aurora on the Park) will make a big difference in supporting Calgary’s 10 year plan to end homelessness,” said Kathy Christiansen, executive director of the Calgary Alpha House Society (AH), one of the Resolve campaign’s partners.
The ‘housing first’ philosophy places precedence of securing permanent housing before working on the root causes that led an individual becoming homeless.
“We house them first, and then deal with the challenges they’re facing, whether it’s taking care of their basic needs, addictions, or mental and physical health issues,” Christiansen said.
Finding wheelchair accessible units is a big challenge in Calgary, which is amplified by a shortage of affordable housing.
“One of the things that’s unique about this building is that it’s barrier-free. There’s very few places in the city that offer that,” Christiansen said.
Tenants of the affordable apartment units will have a lease and pay rent each month, and AH will provide rent supplements when required.
“I think the amount of dignity and ability that comes with having your basic needs met is huge. People are really excited to be moving in here,” she added.
Twenty-four hour on-site support will be provided by AH and the Calgary Homeless Foundation for those living at Aurora on the Park.
“We designed it to promote tenant integration and promote community, through the use of common-area rooms and shared dining experiences with a common area kitchen,” said Richard Daley, vice president of multi-family developments with StreetSide Developments, who constructed the apartment building.
There are approximately 3,500 Calgarians who are currently experiencing homelessness, according to the Resolve campaign.
“The wave icon in the Aurora on the Park logo represents the peaks and valleys some of the tenants have gone through on their journey to finding this place they can now call home,” said Richard Daley, vice president of multi-family developments with StreetSide Developments.
Daley said the word ‘Aurora’ means a new beginning, or the dawn of a new day. It’s fitting a fitting name for the multi-unit apartment building, located in the community of Hillhurst-Sunnyside.
The Resolve campaign is raising a total of $120 million to fund affordable housing for 3,000 homeless Calgarians. It’s the first campaign of its kind in North America, and will reduce costs on healthcare, emergency services, and the justice system by $34,000 per person housed, per year.