On Thursday, Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir announced at the Calgary Dream Centre an investment of $1.2 million for homeless shelters to help with maintenance costs.
The money will go to 17 homeless shelters in seven communities across Alberta. In Calgary, eight shelters will be receiving a combined total of over half a million dollars.
The shelters receiving investment include the Dream Centre, Alpha House, the Drop-in Centre, In From the Cold, the Mustard Seed, Salvation Army Centre of Hope, Salvation Army Wagner location and the YWCA Mary Dover House.
“Funding will address priority maintenance and upgrades related to fire, health and safety risks. We recognize that to totally end homelessness, we need to address more than just immediate needs and do more than simply allocate funding,” said Sabir.
One such safety risk the money has gone towards was replacing a 38-year-old elevator at the Dream Centre, a recovery organization that helps young men escape addiction and homelessness.
The centre has over 1,050 graduates of their programs and sees a turn-around every month of between 40 and 50 men, some of whom are disabled. It has six floors which means having a working elevator is paramount.
“Many of the men… have pushed the button for the elevator and it wouldn’t come. They go inside the elevator and the door wouldn’t open or close or they got caught between floors,” said the Dream Centre’s CEO Jim Moore.
“Now we have a fully modernized, working elevator and it even talks to us.”
Keeping the shelters in good condition can often make the biggest difference for those living there.
For 53-year-old Martin Seewop, a resident of the Dream Centre who is now three years sober thanks to their program, the new elevator is a huge improvement for his quality of life.
Seewop has arthritis in both knees and when the elevator wouldn’t show up for him, that meant he would often have to climb up three flights of stairs.
“A lot of times I dreaded climbing up there,” said Seewop. “Having that elevator is a big advantage, it’s a blessing.”
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