Recognizing the growing number of homeless seniors residing at the shelter and the need to provide to its senior clients a more stable and independent living environment in an effort to lessen the effects of aging on homeless individuals, the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre purchased Bridgeland Manor. The building is a 49-unit apartment complex located in the inner city community of Bridgeland. This mixed market rent/affordable housing initiative provides subsidized, supportive living programming with the goals of improving the quality of life and developing independence for homeless and seniors. All the apartments are furnished with items that have been donated to the DI.
The seniors in Bridgeland Manor are provided with a progressive support system that ensures the success of the above mentioned goals. The support system includes:
- Residential character: living in a familiar, home-like environment that is safe and attractive.
- Physical environment: good architectural and structural design produces an environment conducive to socializing.
- Access to all DI services, as well as assistance with:
- recreation and social activities
- referrals to other service providers
- assistance with medication
- Progressive support system: residents gain the opportunity to develop independence and re-integrate into the community.
- Affordability and choice: strive to meet the needs of residents with different backgrounds, interests, health issues and incomes.
All seniors must have some form of income; some receive an income from Social Medical Assistance, some from AISH and some from Old Age Pensions. The residents in Bridgeland Manor have low fixed incomes which will not increase throughout their lives and are therefore unable to afford the current market rents in Calgary. The DI wants to encourage healthy aging in an atmosphere of dignity and respect which means their own place, a place to call home. Bridgeland Manor provides this in a community-based setting that supports each individual and their unique needs.
Responding to the ongoing needs of those who are homeless, the DI purchased an apartment building, 119 units containing one and two bedroom units.
The Sundial building provides those living at the DI a place to live in a comfortable setting, paying rent which allows for a quality of life that many have not come to realize. The DI received $7 million from the Provincial government to address the need for affordable housing. With the sale of Centre 110 in 2008 an additional $6 million helped to secure the building. Current tenants were assured of tenancy and those who chose to stay benefit from the new living accommodations.
Through attrition,apartments are made available to clients looking to move toward independent living. Stringent eligibility criteria identify potential clients. Screening clients ensures that they are successful in maintaining housing over the long term. So very often we see individuals entering back into the shelter system because of job loss, unexpected increases in rent, illness or other unforeseen issues. As landlords we have a vested interest in the success of those who have used our services. Continuing the relationship with clients ensures that success is maintained and support is ongoing.