Government of Canada Celebrates Official Opening of Affordable Housing in Southwest Calgary

December 10, 2010

CALGARY, AB The Government of Canada joined today with The City of Calgary and the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) to celebrate the official opening of a 33-unit building for low-income individuals, located in the community of Sunalta. 

Lee Richardson, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), along with Tim Richter, President and CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation, attended the ceremony. 

“Renovating rental properties not only helps to build strong and healthy communities, but most importantly, it improves the quality of life for residents,” said MP Richardson. “That’s why our Government is proud to have contributed to these projects in Calgary. We remain committed to giving a hand-up to those in need by providing safe, affordable housing that meets their needs.” 

Through CMHC’s Rooming House Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), the Government of Canada provided $375,000 toward the creation of 33 units. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada provided an additional $285,000 through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, for a total of more than $660,000 in comprehensive renovations to the building including individual rooms and common areas. 

The building was purchased by the CHF in 2009 for approximately $1.2 million, of which more than $1.1 million was provided by The City of Calgary. This money came from the Government of Alberta’s Municipal Block Funding Grant for capital development of affordable housing – part of the provincial government’s commitment to end homelessness in the province. 

“A choice of housing options is important in every community. By working together we can leverage our resources to make difference to more people with fewer tax dollars,” said Jonathan Denis, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs

“Today’s opening is exactly what The City’s Block Funding program is designed to do, provide safe and affordable housing to Calgarians who need it the most,” said Mayor Nenshi. “This initiative showcases the importance of partnership between the private sector, all levels of government, and communities when addressing the challenges of affordable housing.” 

“This affordable housing is an example of the public and private sectors and community working together to turn a building into a home,” said Tim Richter, CHF President and CEO. “The City helped us buy the bricks and mortar, using funds allocated by the provincial government towards ending homelessness, and the federal government and private businesses allowed us to renovate the building into a place tenants can be proud of.”

Along with financial support from the three levels of government, the project benefitted from the assistance of Calgary businesses and contractors, many of whom welcomed the project by providing materials and services in-kind, as well as support from the Sunalta community.

 In addition to the official opening of this project, the federal government also announced funding of $546,000 for the renovation of Sundial Apartments, centrally located in downtown Calgary. Constructed in 1965, Sundial Apartments contains 119 units in total; 59 of which will be renovated for low income tenants. The project is being undertaken by the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre Society, a community-based non-profit organization. The renovations are expected to be completed by early December.  

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.  

In 2008, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help the homeless. As part of this investment, the renovation programs for low-income households, including RRAP, were extended for two years. For Alberta this represents more than $16 million in federal funding for renovation programs off-reserve.  

Canada’s Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion to build new and renovate existing social housing for low-income Canadians, plus up to $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.  

Media Inquiries: 

Kimberlee Jones
Senior Communications Consultant  
CMHC
403-515-3048
kjones@cmhc.ca

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

Kathleen Polyak
Senior Communications Advisor
Calgary Homeless Foundation
403-718-8540
kathleen@calgaryhomeless.com

Ed Conway
Departmental Communications Leader
Corporate Services
The City of Calgary
403-268-4843
ed.conway@calgary.ca

 For more information on CMHC’s Assisted Housing programs, call 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca