Diane Krecsy, Calgary Homeless Foundation president and CEO, left, Kathy Christiansen, Alpha House executive director, Bernadette Majdell, HomeSpace Society CEO, and Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon pose for a photo in the grand opening of the Clayton, a safe place for Calgary homeless, on Thursday, August 8, 2019.
Azin Ghaffari / Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Calgary
The opening of a new 30-unit residence in Bowness is being hailed as the next step toward ending homelessness in Calgary.The Clayton will become a permanent home for 30 individuals who have experienced long-term or frequent episodes of homelessness. The building provides affordable housing and 24-hour on-site supports by Calgary Alpha House Society, offering safety and support for residents.“Every time a person comes out of homelessness we all rise. When we build these types of buildings and it helps people out, it’s not just ending homelessness, it’s actually contributing to a multitude of things,” said Diana Krecsy, CEO of Calgary Homeless Foundation.“This is making our communities better. It’s helping individual people but it’s helping our whole community get stronger by getting people into housing.”The building will have a profound effect on the community, according to Krecsy.Related
Philip Burke was at the opening of the Clayton, reminiscing about his past experience with chronic homelessness for 25 years. When he was first getting out of homelessness, he had to learn how to live in a home. Alpha House helped Burke with treatment and detox but he still wasn’t sure how to live as a tenant. Now, he speaks on behalf of Alpha House’s clients, grateful for all they did for him.Burke said one of the most exciting elements of the Clayton is that it offers people a chance to learn those things in a safe and stable environment.“It’s a major transition. You’re used to living one way and it’s barely living,” said Burke. “From not having a place to shower or having clean clothes — even just having those things, your life is going to change dramatically.”Each room is different and made to support individuals with unique needs. Each floor of the building has an office for those working to assist residents.
Pictured is a typical room at the Clayton, a safe place for Calgary homeless, photographed at the facility’s grand opening on Thursday, August 8, 2019.
Azin Ghaffari /
Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia Calgary
Jayman Built was the builder of the Clayton, so named after Jay Westman’s father, Alvin Clayton Westman.“What we’re hoping to do is lift one person up at a time, and they’ll lift the next person up and the next person. It’s by example that you’ll create greatness and make a difference,” said Jay Westman.There are a number of barrier-free rooms with wheelchair access and accessible showers, sinks and kitchen counters. The suites have stoves that automatically shut off if left on and a drain in the floor by the kitchen sink.“A lot of technology and thought process has gone into designing the building,” said Westman. “This is purposely built to give people a helping hand.”Other key players involved in the planning, funding and building of the Clayton include the HomeSpace Society, Resolve Campaign and the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Representatives from each spoke about the excitement over the collaboration between public and private sectors that will see them hand 30 new residents their keys.“This partnership is unique. We have other provinces coming to Calgary asking us how this is getting done, this is amazing,” said Krecsy.“Welcome home,” Westman says about the Clayton which was built to meet the residents where they’re at. Rooms are furnished, some rooms have handicap adjustments like broader doorways and roll-in showers, and rooms have stoves that shut off if forgotten. Each room meant to help.— Stephanie Babych (@BabychStephanie) August 8, email@example.comTwitter: @BabychStephanie