The new community services building at the Calgary John Howard Society’s Bedford House in the Manchester area.
Robert Thompson / Calgary John Howard Society
After a nearly 15-year process, the Calgary John Howard Society has opened the doors at its new Bedford House location in the Manchester area.The new facility will provide transitional housing for 32 men. The replacement site has been in the works since the original Bedford House location was expropriated by the City of Calgary in 2005 due to Stampede Park expansion. For the last three years, the organization was renting a temporary space in Forest Lawn until the building could be constructed.“It’s been a long time,” said Gord Sand, executive director of the Calgary John Howard Society.He described a celebratory atmosphere at an opening event Wednesday.“We have occupancy now — it’s our building,” Sand said. “It felt wonderful. People were very impressed with the building and especially the residents.”Sand said the community-based residential facility for people transitioning from federal prisons is valuable and important for Calgary.
Gord Sand, Executive Director Calgary John Howard Society as the Resolve Campaign and the Calgary John Howard Society break ground for the new John Howard Sciety building at 4444 Builders Road S.E. in Calgary on Thursday March 15, 2018.
Darren Makowichuk /
“Without these kinds of facilities, and if the people being released from prison just went to the street or to shelters, it would be not as safe as going to a halfway house and getting a job and getting whatever treatment’s needed,” he said. “This is really the way to do it, and it’s something the city should be proud of.”After the original property was expropriated, Sand said, the society unsuccessfully tried to move the facility to Sunalta in 2006. The organization acquired the property in Manchester in 2010 and received a development permit in 2012, followed by fundraising efforts. Construction was funded in part through the Resolve campaign. The provincial government also gave a $3-million capital funding grant to the project in 2016.The new four-storey building features offices and recreation facilities on the main floor and 32 bachelor studio suites, including four that are barrier-free. The site also incorporates a two-storey community services building, which is where the organization provides literacy, computer and employment training. Residents also have access to other supports such as mental-health services.“It’s really a step forward for the residents and many of them haven’t had the experience of having a self-contained suite, so they’re quite happy,” Sand said.