Where once an old and tired rooming house stood, a shiny new apartment building has risen from the ground. It is 4 stories tall. It is made of brick and mortar and steel and the hard labour of many. It is elegant, calm and welcoming.
It is Stepping Stone Manor, a new 30 unit permanent supportive housing project about to open in the Beltline area. It is also about to become the home for 30 individuals for whom homelessness has been their stark reality for far too long.
Living in homelessness is not an easy path. Whether sleeping on a mat in a shelter, or camping rough in parks or along the riverbank, homelessness takes a toll on the resiliency and capacity of those experiencing it to believe they can create positive change in their life. The longer one remains in homelessness, the harder it is to imagine ever moving beyond it. That’s why Stepping Stone Manor and the other 8 – 10 buildings CHF will be spear-heading construction on through their involvement in the RESOLVE Campaign are so important. Each building, each individual unit, represents the way home for those who have lost their way in homelessness.
“I know I’m in a home because I’m standing here in stocking feet,” says Diana Krecsy, President & CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation in her opening remarks at the ‘sneak-a-peak’ tour of soon to be occupied Stepping Stone Manor. “I wouldn’t walk into anyone’s home with my shoes on, and it’s no different here. This will soon be home for someone who has probably given up hope of ever having a home again,” she tells the 20 or so home builders, government representatives, key donors and media who have come out to get a look at Stepping Stone Manor before finishing touches are completed and tenants move in.
Stepping Stone Manor is the first ‘purpose-built’ apartment building to be completed as part of CHF’s goal to build 8 – 10 permanent supportive living apartment buildings through the RESOLVE Campaign, a first of its kind in Canada capital campaign comprised of nine not-for-profit agencies who have joined forces to raise $120 million to create homes for 3,000 vulnerable Calgarians.
Funding for the 30 unit Stepping Stone Manor came from the Government of Alberta (70%) and Cedarglen Living Inc. (30%). Cedarglen Living is one of 11 Calgary homebuilders who have pledged $15.4 million to build a series of apartment buildings to house 3,000 vulnerable Calgarians at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Many other donors such as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, pba land & development and The Surveillance Shop made Stepping Stone Manor possible.
“The generosity of Calgarians inspires our work to end homelessness in Calgary every day,” says Sharon deBoer, Director, Development at CHF. “They remind us through their contributions of time, talents and resources that we are not alone in wanting to improve the quality of life for homeless Calgarians and they bring meaning to our vision — Together, we will end homelessness. With their support, and the support of so many others, we will make it happen.”
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