Why We Exist
The DI works to improve the lives of people experiencing temporary or long-term displacement. Whether people need a place to rest and restore or a place to find housing and community supports—the DI can accommodate the needs of a diverse group of people.
There are endless stories that have kept staff, volunteers and donors dedicated over the years, and many of these stories are rooted in the courage, resiliency and hard-work of the people they serve.
One of those stories is about “Robert”. Robert lost his job in the recession and began working part-time for minimal pay. He picked up whatever shifts he could, but he eventually lost his truck, his ATV and his house. Despite his hardship, Robert was adamant he wouldn’t lose his kids. Having no place to live, he regularly came to the DI for food and shelter. He came to shower, wash his clothes and rest after a long day’s work.
Yet, every second weekend Robert wouldn’t show up.
Knowing Robert had a small network in Calgary and few options, DI staff checked in to make sure he was safe. What they found out was heartwarming.
Robert had been using a significant portion of his small earnings to rent hotel rooms for when his kids were in town. He had joint custody of his children, but in order to spend time with them, Robert needed a safe and private space for them to hang out and sleep.
Case managers were then able to help Robert recognize the financial barrier to his lack of permanent housing and provide him the $1,000 he needed for the security deposit on his rental. Today, Robert has his own housing and a safe home to create memories with his children.
Many DI stories are like Robert’s, but many aren’t. For over 55 years, the DI has been a safe place, a “home”, for many people. Though it’s easy for some people to leave and quickly regain independence, we also recognize how much courage, hard work and additional resources it takes for others. As difficult as it is to come to shelter for help, it can be just as daunting to leave. With this in mind, the DI’s emergency shelter and client services remain crucial pieces to the DI’s new housing-focused direction.