Calgary affordable housing project, Horizon View, complete – now home for more than 300

The entrance for the Horizon View building. CONTRIBUTED

The largest Calgary affordable housing space to open in the past 10 years is now ready for residents.

Located in the community of Glamorgan, Horizon View opened phase two Wednesday, which includes 45 new units serving 50 Calgarians. With a total of 210 units and the ability to house more than 300 people, the building is now complete.

Drew Cade’s story

Drew Cade, resident at Horizon View, now lives there after experiencing housing difficulties. CONTRIBUTED.

Drew Cade is a resident who moved into an accessible unit in 2019. He came to Horizon Housing after multiple housing options didn’t work because he needed a hospital-sized bed for his health issues. It was too big for most bedrooms.

He worked in the logging industry for years and had built a reputation, but the work took a toll on his body. His shoulders gave out and soon his lungs began to trouble him. He now uses oxygen aid for breathing.

Cade experienced “hidden homeless” as he lived with his sister for nine years. This is when housing is uncertain but the person still has a roof over their heads.

 “My time there ran out and that was a turning point,” said Cade.

“I quit smoking. I stopped drinking. And after six years on the wait list for affordable housing, I finally met Natasha at SORCe who connected me with Horizon Housing and found a home for me here.”

Cade is 10 years sober and has rediscovered a passion for cooking. He finds joy in getting to know his neighbours and connecting with community through living alone. He is focused on his health as he has a goal to become eligible for a lung transplant.

“This place feels like home for me. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time.” Cade said.

“I couldn’t imagine living through the COVID-19 pandemic without a home.”

Funding and need for housing

The opening of Phase Two comes during a pandemic, where most people have been spending time at home. However, there are nearly 3,000 homeless people in the city and a shortage of about 15,000 affordable homes to meet the demand.

But sheltering people in hotels or temporary houses is just that – temporary – said Martina Jileckova, CEO of Horizon Housing.

“People need homes. Study after study shows that housing costs less than homelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important housing is,” she said.

“A lack of affordable, safe housing has never been so urgent to health and wellbeing.”

The housing building in its entirety. / CONTRIBUTED

Horizon View happened from donations from community investment and local philanthropists through the RESOLVE campaign. The Alberta government funded the project as well, contributing $4.3 million towards Phase Two.

Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon said the government is pleased to have donated the money and created 31 jobs through it.

“Our government is committed to ensuring that vulnerable Albertans have access to safe and affordable housing,” she said.

“As we work to keep Albertans safe from the global pandemic, our province is also focused on growing the economy, and getting Albertans back to work.”

The City supported the project by covering some of the pre-development costs and rebating fees through the Housing Incentive Program.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said we still have a lot of work to do to meet the city’s needs for affordable housing.

“Horizon Housing is one of our best partners in making that happen. Having a chance at a life of dignity and opportunity starts with having a safe and reliable place to call home,” said Nenshi.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for more and expanded affordable housing has never been more obvious.”

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