The need in our city is great – just 3.6% of our housing units are non-market compared to an average of 6% nationally and nearly 3,000+ individuals and families are currently experiencing homelessness with 50,000+ Calgary households in core housing need. Our city needs more permanent, supportive and affordable housing.
We employ a Housing First approach, which is the right thing to do, and it makes economic sense. When we provide permanent housing with integrated support, we see an average of 70% decrease in days hospitalized, EMS utilization, police interactions, emergency room visits, court appearances and days in jail. When we tracked 72 high acuity individuals in Housing First initiatives, we saw a system savings of over $34,000 per person or nearly $2.5 million for the 72 individuals, a huge savings to the tax payer.
HomeSpace stands out in comparison to others doing similar work in our city because we house Calgary’s most vulnerable population. We house the “hardest to house.” We do the work that others can’t or won’t, knowing it sometimes comes with added liabilities, stresses and costs. We give residents second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth chances. We purpose-build smaller properties of 25-30 units so each resident has a greater opportunity for success in a more intimate setting. The work we do isn’t easy and it isn’t glamorous. But it’s worth it. Because we believe everyone deserves a home, and our goal is to ensure our residents don’t go back to the streets. According to research conducted by our partner and systems planner, Calgary Homeless Foundation, our Housing First approach has a 90% retention rate.
We’re known for delivering units quickly and more efficiently than any other organization to tackle Calgary’s affordable housing crisis: we have completed construction on eleven buildings in the past few years, and currently have three more buildings in various stages of development. We have a strong growth mandate to continue to add affordable housing in our city. When the City of Calgary released seven parcels of land in 2017, we were successful on three of our bids. This is indicate of our track record; we are trusted to dig in and get units in the ground. And we’re learning as we go – we continually modify the designs of our purpose builds based on past learnings. For example, because of flooding issues in some of our older buildings, we now build drains into the floor of every bathroom. This ensures the most sustainable designs going forward as we tackle Calgary’s non-market housing gap.
HomeSpace is an affordable housing developer and owner, and we’re also a property manager for our 27 buildings throughout Calgary.
When it comes to property management, HomeSpace is so much more than a landlord. We work with local social service agencies to provide supports, often 24/7, to the residents in our buildings. The agencies range from those like CUPS Calgary who work with families with children to those like Alpha House who work with people suffering from mental health issues, addictions and trauma. These partnerships with agencies are key to impact, efficiency and success – we focus on what we do best so they can focus on what they do best.
We are seeking support in large and small ways: