10 year plan 10 year plan to end homelessness acadia place agency alpha house society art in homeless community art smith bill c-400 bishop henry calgary homeless canadian alliance to end homelessness chf clock collaborative art collaborative fund-raising campaign collaborative policing community community action committee ending homelessness faith homeless homelessness homeless services homeless stories housing first john rook mark horvath mayor nenshi phc point-in-time count project homeless connect propsect human services research resolve social enterprise stephen gaetz students students make a difference susan scott this is my city tim richter volunteer volunteers w.o. mitchell elementary school
I’ve met families who’ve had to leave their country because of war, crime or corruption. Many of these families had to leave beloved homes, professions and friends behind and start over with very little.
I’ve also met families that have lost their jobs due to the recession. Some struggle with mental health and addictions, while others have limited education and can only access minimum wage jobs, often working more than one job at a time to make ends meet.
I work to provide one-on-one support to the tenants living in Acadia Place, the Calgary Homeless Foundation's affordable housing building for families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. My aim is to help build a sense of community among the 58 families living there.
In a way, my goal is to foster and nurture community spirit, much like what used to exist decades ago, when it was okay to go next door and borrow a cup of sugar, or ask your neighbours to help you out with something.
I was especially struck by our lack of community in Canada when I traveled through Kenya in 2006. Kenyans living in villages did not have much in terms of material things – but they had each other – and that has more value than anything you can buy.
On June 1, I opened Acadia Place’s very own resource centre. In the first six weeks, more than a dozen families and individuals contacted me requiring assistance with a variety of issues – such as obtaining financial support for rent, food or diapers, to helping build resumes and apply for jobs. The resource center also offers ESL conversation classes, kids’ games and craft activities, and a mini-library where youth can borrow books on a weekly basis.
We’ve had a few community events, such as the Spring Fling where we enhanced the look of the property and planted a community garden, which is doing really well. And more recently, the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour hosted a Canada Day BBQ in the yard.
I have also been networking with agencies in the larger community to help connect tenants to a variety of available resources. For instance, the center recently had a financial literacy agency, Momentum, present their programs on site. In a few weeks the coordinator of Mothers of Preschool Children (MOPS) will present her program to interested tenants.
In this very short time, I’ve become quite attached to the families living at Acadia Place. I feel honoured to be part of the diverse and vibrant families that live here, and to help facilitate the emergence of a thriving community.
The CHF and KAIROS Calgary are fundraising to pay down the mortgage at Acadia Place. If we reach our goal, Acadia Place residents would, on average, have their rents reduced by $200 a month, making their housing even more affordable. Learn more at www.acadiaplace.com.