Living Standards | Housing
Community Connections | Neighbourhoods, Citizen Engagement, Aging Population

Jack Long Foundation for Community Development

Everyone deserves a home. Homelessness…it’s personal. We work with individuals and communities to build affordable and respectful housing…a place to belong.

Our Story

Why We Exist

It all started at a community meeting many years ago. I remember that uncomfortable moment of silence, followed by the buzz after the public resignation of the board chair of my community association. I had never chaired a meeting in my life and here I was expected to bridge what can only be described as “The Great Divide.” Not knowing what to do, I took the chair, only to have a small but vocal group call for the resignation of the board. How was I to deal with a fractured board and a community under social pressure? But, there they were… my neighbours, real people passionate about their community… unexpected allies.

Amongst them, those unafraid to feel, dream and act, was Jack Long, a well-known architect, planner and community activist. Jack gave me the courage to trust the community, to give considerate thought and act with compassion.

The result, the community banded together to find their unique solutions to complex social issues. In dealing with prostitution… they decided to  help women trapped in the lifestyle, while police enforced the law. In dealing with inflated property taxes… they banded together to help those who could lose their homes by launching a group appeal. I found that given the proper support, the community acted with empathy and creativity. Those were exciting and powerful times that confirmed the remarkable capacity of caring for each other in community life.

A few years later, in my role as a church group volunteer, I met real people facing homelessness, like the hard working Perrez family, who immigrated here for a better life… but were constantly confronted with making ends meet to keep an apartment that they could barely afford. Inspired by Jack’s strong belief in the power of ordinary people living in community, I turned to him to help. As always, he was eager to help, but sadly he passed away a few months later. The Jack Long foundation was founded to honour him and to harness Jack’s belief in the power of community. Our goal was to make affordable housing a part of the neighbourhood fabric, to develop process that addressed homelessness and marginalization from a community perspective. Inspired by Jack’s philosophy, and in his words we “develop within that community the capacity to plan for itself”.

We ran an experiment with one community, and it worked! A group of concerned people eagerly looked at the opportunities within their own community. They saw real people, not demographics. They saw Hazel who, at 80 years of age, would not find affordable housing within her community (that would meet her need for elder support). And they felt the loss when even one person was forced to leave because they could no longer afford to live there. They were able to see existing needs within their own community, and put a face to those desperately seeking the basic need for a home. THE RESULT: ELDERHOUSE, an innovative solution to ageing-in-place.

Naming the problem was not enough. We asked seniors themselves to help us develop a dignified, affordable, and respectful housing model, which allows them to age in their own neighbourhood. Why? Because we are serious about real solutions, and because real people tell us that studies & reports are not enough… real people need real homes. And real homes are supported by real communities.

Our Impact

What We Do

“…there is an infinity of possible viewpoints but the only one that can be said to be proper​​ is the standpoint, or viewpoint of the community itself.”- Jack Long 1925-2001

Jack truly lived  his philosophy and had a profound impact on the face of Calgary in his roles as architect, planner, city councillor, and community activist over his four decade career. Avenue Magazine stated “It’s hard to find anyone else who’s had such a profound impact on the face of Calgary in the second half of the 20th century”. Jack was a visionary who was responsible for the design of the Calgary Science Centre (1966); he was awarded the Canadian Design Council Concrete Awards Program. The building remains relevant and is in the running to house Calgary’s New Contemporary Art Gallery. Always compassionate, Jack was named Honorary Chief of the Stoney Indian Tribe due to his respect and work for aboriginal causes. Never shrinking from controversy, Jack successfully helped battle CP Rail in their attempt to relocate the railway tracks to run along the Bow River and along Prince’s Island.

His passion for community activism helped community residents realize that they are responsible for the destiny of their neighbourhoods. He is well known for his  work in his home community of Inglewood, which widely engaged community residents in planning for the redevelopment of their community as it faced its demise in the late 60’s and 70’s. Jack steadfastly fought for and defended the community’s right to affect its own future stating “To use the community viewpoint…This means the planning becomes a participational planning process, utilizing the viewpoint of Every Man the Planner”. “Every Man the Planner” was the title Jack’s Master’s Thesis, which documented his unique work with Inglewood residents. His legacy lives on with the Jack Long Foundation (JLF).

JLF conducts a unique, Affordable Housing Planning Process that is community based. Stakeholders bring critical community knowledge to the table. JLF programs engage individuals and facilitate collaborative relationships with like-minded community organisations.

Vision: To to work with individual communities to develop their unique strategy for building affordable housing within their boundaries. We believe in the power of a community coming together as a collective to identify opportunities and resources, address internal needs, and in turn make the city a better place. We make things happen. When we say “community” …we see belonging – not geography. We see hope – not powerlessness. We see living – not occupancy. We work with real people in real communities to get affordable housing built… according to their plan.

Mission: To encourage, support, and build projects and  processes, which promote social and ethical responsibility, build healthy environments, and develop dynamic and balanced urban communities in which all community residents have the opportunity to participate and contribute.


Our Programs

How We Do It


We deliver a unique planning process for affordable housing that is community based. Stakeholders bring critical community knowledge to the table. JLF programs engage individuals and facilitate collaborative relationships with like-minded community organisations. Face-to-Face… Shoulder-to-Shoulder… It begins with a conversation. Every community has the resources and the ability to affect change. The JLF process initiates change; we bring together all stakeholders and interested parties and help them devise THEIR plan. We tailor meetings to identify objectives and opportunities; address community issues; and write THEIR community plan. Good plans lead to action. We’ve tested the process and are moving forward… We started several years ago by running a pilot with one community. They talked. We listened. They saw a lack of housing for seniors in need of daily support. This was no surprise. They worried about seniors living unsafely in their homes beyond their capacity to do so.

NEW!!!                                                                                                                                                                   We are working with East Village Seniors to take an active look to the future!

We have launched a consultation with East Village seniors. Why East Village?                    East Village has possibly the highest concentration of seniors with a 3-4 block radius. It all started with a conversation over lunch with a few committed people. They shared their ideas on what they would like to see in the next phase of their lives. It was no surprise to see that belonging, dignity, and living in community were forefront in their values. They most welcomed the opportunity to share their opinions and insights. We wondered who else should we ask if not seniors themselves!


We sought expert advice from seniors themselves. They said, “Don’t take away our choices.”  We decided to take on the challenge…Elderhouse… A fresh approach. Elderhouse is our newest challenge. We are set to build a shared home, designed by seniors for seniors… something that belongs in every community. It’s more than a building – it’s about people and caring relationships, private spaces, lots of light, a friendly atmosphere, nutrition, and healthy living. A different perspective – a focus on healthy living and not simply managing health conditions. It’s about people… not beds. It’s not about the number of beds. That’s for hospitals. It’s a shared home. It’s personal. Elderhouse is designed to build relationships, combat loneliness, and it’s about belonging. Seniors are valuable; they have much to contribute; their home must be part of and open to the community. It’s about community. Local residents are given priority.

The first Elderhouse is being planned for Inglewood. WE HAVE LAND. LET’S BUILD IT!

III. ASSIST – Neighbour-To-Neighbour

What happens with the “Honey Do List” when there is no Honey to do it? We’re trying something new! “It takes a village”… We are launching a community fix-it program. It’s simple. Seniors request help with small chores, we organize a team of volunteers and a work day, to get the work done.


Our Requests

What You Can Do

ELDERHOUSE FUNDING GOAL:  $3,000,000.00 to house 12 – 18 vulnerable seniors

Make Elderhouse a reality. Be an innovator for seniors’ housing. Many seniors & community residents have donated heartfelt dollars, for the land, and creb Foundation have and Fort Calgary Lions have donated $10,000.00 each for pre-development work.   WE HAVE LAND! LET’S BUILD IT!

SPONSOR – Make a difference. Be a  sponsor and share in the Elderhouse legacy.

DONATE – Make a personal donation or adopt Elderhouse as part of your business’s community service. MULTIPLY your donation if you have a Corporate employee matching plan? Watch your contribution multiply!

ADVOCATE – Hold your own little home fundraise; You invite your friends & associates, and we will make a presentation.

BE A GAME CHANGER – Ask us about how you can plan for affordable housing in your community.

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT  FORWARD –  $100.00 sponsors 1 sq. ft. of land for Elderhouse. Have your name recorded  onsite, or commemorate someone you know.

MONTHLY DONOR – Help us to work with more communities by donating monthly. Every dollar makes a difference.

ACT – Volunteer for our Inglewood Neighbour-To-Neighbour Work Team; what a difference a few hours will make.

TAKE CONTROL – Call us if your community is interested in the “Elderhouse” model or in setting up a “Neighbour-To-Neighbour” Program; we would be happy to make a presentation… it’s all about sharing the information.

Stay Connected


Shirley-anne Reuben

Jack Long Foundation for Community Development


Charitable Number: 862875317RR0001

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