- How does RESOLVE relate to Calgary's Plan to End Homelessness?The RESOLVE Campaign meets one of the key goals of Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness and Housing First, which is to increase the amount of affordable homes in our city with the supports needed to help those housed overcome their challenges and live sustainable lives. Since the Plan was launched, over 6,000 Calgarians have been placed in housing with supports. RESOLVE is designed as a one-time collaborative fundraising campaign during the implementation of the Plan (2008-2018).
- Who is participating in the Campaign?The nine Partners of the Campaign are:
Bishop O’Byrne Housing
Calgary Alpha House Society
Calgary Homeless Foundation
Calgary John Howard Society
Horizon Housing Society
Silvera for Seniors
The Mustard Seed
Trinity Place Foundation of Alberta
- Why private donations? Shouldn’t the government provide affordable housing?
Alberta is the only province in Canada to create a provincial plan for ending homelessness. The Government of Alberta has made unprecedented investments in our Partners’ affordable housing projects. Federal and municipal grants have also been made to some projects. Money earmarked by the Province cannot be mobilized until the remaining funds are raised by the organization. A community-based capital campaign is the best way to ensure these funds are accessed, which is why we asking community leaders and organizations to step forward to work alongside government to solve this critical problem.
- Doesn’t the City already provide affordable housing options?
The City of Calgary provides below-market rent options through the Calgary Housing Company and offers affordable home ownership through Attainable Homes Calgary Corporation. However, there is still a critical need for very affordable rent options that are around and below $500 a month, and for affordable rent options that provide on-site support to people with high needs. Also, the Calgary Housing Company stock of properties is currently insufficient to meet demand with a waitlist of over 3,000 people.
- Why does Calgary need additional affordable housing even if secondary suites are legalized?
Calgary is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. The legalization of secondary suites could alleviate the low rental vacancy rates and provide additional affordable rental options in our city. Secondary suites, however, cannot provide enough units to augment the 3,500 people who are experiencing homelessness right now, and over 14,000 households who are at extreme risk of becoming homeless. Secondary suites will not work for everyone – many of these vulnerable individuals require purpose-built affordable housing with supports offered on-site, sometimes 24/7, in a community setting.
- How will RESOLVE ensure affordable housing is sustainable?
Philanthropic gifts will create debt-free rental properties. Strong community level support and the proven ability of agencies to collaborate will provide a strong case for continued government funding. The Partners are housing experts and are committed to long-term stewardship of donor investments.
- What kind of on-site support is provided in these projects?
Support services offered vary depending on client needs. The types of affordable housing included within RESOLVE, such as housing for seniors or for those with disabilities, offer support based on needs specific to the population. In some cases, intensive case management support is required (i.e. addiction recovery, counselling, mental or physical health support, budgeting and employment support, and/or help with integrating back into the community).
- Will these projects increase crime in existing communities?
The seniors, families and other individuals living in these affordable housing units often are no different than you and I, other than needing support due to very low income and other health or social factors. And the Partner agencies in RESOLVE are very adept at helping these groups work towards leading stable, healthy and vibrant lives. Our Partners work with the existing community, Calgary Police Services and Emergency Medical Services to effectively and harmoniously integrate into the area. Where applicable, they will work with the City of Calgary and the local community to create a Good Neighbour Agreement. Dozens of these buildings already operate successfully across the entire city with neighbours often not even really aware that there is affordable housing in their community.
- Why are some agencies choosing to pay off the mortgages on the buildings?
In order to offer low rents on a sustainable basis, the existing financing costs on the buildings must be removed in perpetuity. This will enable the Partners to run properties with lower operating costs, reduced inflationary pressures and provide stronger capital and operating reserves for upkeep, continued service provisions and reinvestment.
- How long will the organization own and operate the building?
This may vary by building/Partner, but investment in buildings is by nature a long-term commitment. The Boards and management of these agencies do not decide to enter into owning and operating buildings without serious consideration.
- Are we preventing people from being self-sufficient by providing affordable housing?
Research shows that Housing First helps people address the issues that led to their homelessness. In this way, they stabilize and reduce their use of more expensive social systems, like hospitals, jails, emergency rooms and interactions with police and ambulance services. Everyone pays rent geared to income (approximately 30%). As their income rises, the subsidy falls. For a small percentage of people, given their health issues, they might always require housing with support, but helping to stabilize them reduces their use of more expensive public systems.
All affordable rental units are income tested to ensure those in need are receiving housing. Some of our Partners have a small percentage of tenants who pay market rent. This is beneficial to our Partners because:
It is an added source of funding for the agency, offsetting the subsidies provided to those who need it most. This helps to allow the agency to maintain a clean, vibrant and successful property.
Integrated communities are highly successful and help reduce the stigma attached to one particular group.
- What are the administrative costs associated with the Campaign?
Costs are lower because our Partners are combining their fundraising efforts, as opposed to each Partner fundraising individually. Administrative costs will not exceed 10% of the overall goal of the Campaign. This is an extremely efficient means to creating more affordable housing for agencies that otherwise would not have the capacity to fundraise alone.