The S.H.A.R.P. Foundation

For 25 years, SHARP has been providing care for Calgary’s most vulnerable people who constantly struggle to overcome barriers to services needed to address their complex health and social needs. Our clients often struggle with issues such as homelessness, mental illness, addictions, histories of abuse/violence, chronic diseases (HIV, Hep C, diabetes, cancers), brain injuries and more. Housing and supports are generally inaccessible to those living with HIV due to the stigma surrounding the complexities of the disease and associated factors such as sexual orientation, substance use and mental illness. Therefore, The SHARP Foundation is committed to providing avenues that ensure that affordable housing and accessible programming are available for individuals living with HIV.

The SHARP foundation provides a nurturing environment to attract and retain highly skilled and compassionate people to deliver and support our clients, programs, and services. To ensure staff, volunteers, and service providers are best able to participate in creating healthy environments and promote health for our clients, we will provide education and awareness of issues including HIV, diversity, medical and/or social issues.


In the last 25 years we have served over 350 people. Today we provide nationally recognized services to 69 clients through outreach and in five facilities. We offer 24/7 staffed medical/behavioural supports, peer-mentored homes and independent living apartments. We pride ourselves on providing compassionate, non-judgmental, respectful care to our clients, while fostering their ability to gain greater independence and improve their well-being.  We do all of this for less than $100 per day per resident, which is anywhere from half the cost of hospice care to 1/18th the cost of acute hospital care.SHARP creates safe, secure, non-judgmental environments where people can be themselves and discuss openly the challenges they face daily. It is in these spaces that clients begin to heal, engage in their own wellness, or in some cases, reclaim their dignity.

We currently operate five programs located in Calgary residential neighbourhoods. Residents are provided with affordable housing and individualized support to meet their housing, medical, and psycho-social needs. After stabilizing an individual’s medication regimen we provide programs to improve her/his quality of life.

Our care, housing programs and services are targeted to individuals living with HIV coming from diverse communities or backgrounds (i.e., socio-economic, behavioural/lifestyle, religious/spiritual and cultural characteristics). Client history and/or lifestyle choices may include: homelessness, street involvement, illicit drug use and / or criminal activity. In some cases our clients may contact us directly for assistance, but in most cases they are referred by other agencies including Southern Alberta ClinicCalgary Drop-In CentreHIV Community Link and Safeworks.

SHARP provides compassionate care by:

  • Respecting the inherent worth, identity, and dignity of each person without regard to ethnicity, religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status.
  • Believing in the whole person and supporting the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of each person in an integrated manner. Supporting each person in an environment of acceptance, inclusiveness and safety.
  • Promoting innovation, creativity, and professionalism in its programming. Developing effective partnerships and collaboration with diverse communities and organizations.
  • Subscribing to a harm reduction approach where our philosophy is to maintain or enhance quality of life by providing non-judgemental care and support with compassion.

Partnerships are critical for our organization to provide cost effective delivery of care and support for residents of Beswick House and Scott House. Our partners are actively engaged in the care, treatment and support of our residents, providing a multi-disciplinary approach to resident care. Our strategic partners include:

 Just as each person is unique, each person’s experience with HIV is unique; no patient can be treated with the exact same methods as another. Some of the factors that influence how we care for a patient are history, current state of well being, social support availability, and physical or mental disabilities. Age is also a factor we take into consideration as a secondary diagnosis such as cancer or Parkinson’s disease is common with the ageing of the patient. HIV hinders a person’s immune system so these secondary diagnoses can have a severe effect on the patient.

Not only is the demand for our Beswick House (24/7) program is increasing at a phenomenal rate, due to the aging of persons living with HIV, but Alberta Health Services has concluded that there is a total of 508 individuals in Calgary over the age of 50 living with HIV who are beginning to require higher levels of care.


SHARP, in true Calgary fashion, will meet this challenge head-on so that this city remains accessible to all. However, only 14 per cent of our budget is derived from direct government funding. We need your help!

With your financial support and the support of our community partners, we will plan and implement the types of homes and support that will help all citizens of calgary access the care and supports needed to keep them healthy and happy.

Help us build homes where people can define themselves, and not just be definition of their illness. Help us build homes where people matter and where hope is tangible.


We accept donations in all types; as a volunteer you’re donating your time and energy to enriching the lives of those living with HIV; as a monetary donor you’re donating your hard-earned money to support our care-giving services; and as a donor of goods (furniture, gift certificates, etc.) you’re enabling us to make our facilities and range of activities better for our residents. For more information on ways to donate, please see our Donate page.


We could not do the work we do without the commitment and support of our Volunteers. Thank you to our over 145 volunteers who contribute their valuable skills, knowledge and time to The SHARP Foundation!

Volunteers provide support with our fundraising activities and events, client support, facility maintenance and providing governance as Board and committee members. If you or your club/group have specific skills that you feel would benefit the Foundation or the clients we serve, or an interest in getting involved, please contact our Program Manager to discuss how you can get involved.

The SHARP Foundation accepts volunteer applications from interested and passionate members of the community. For a full list of volunteer opportunities click here.

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Contact Info

Executive Director

Floyd Visser



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