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In November, 11 Calgary Homebuilders, who are members of the RESOLVE Campaign, were honoured at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Calgary.

 

 

CHF is proud to be a partner in the RESOLVE Campaign. These exceptional philanthropists represent the best of Calgary and along with the Government of Alberta are playing a significant role in ensuring we have the resources we need to build 8 affordable housing apartment buildings for individuals experiencing homelessness. Together, we will end homelessness.

 

Recently, a hand written, anonymous letter arrived in the CHF mailbox. Addressed to the Calgary Homeless Foundation c/o Diana Krescy, the writer shares their experiences of having experienced homelessness for many years of their life and what it means to now have a home and a CHF owned apartment building with supports from a partner agency.

The writer speaks of their hopelessness in homelessness. They speak of being judged, persecuted, condemned and they write about being at home. “I still no sleep in a bed yet,” they write. “But do sleep now finally.”

It is a moving and powerful letter about survival, and most importantly, the power of HOME.

Thank you anonymous writer for reminding all of us of the importance of ending homelessness so that everyone can find themselves at home.

Written by Darcy Mammel

*Photo credit: Cat Schick

It’s a beautiful 19 degrees in Calgary and I’m on site at Calgary’s largest yarn-bombing initiative that will celebrate two new apartment buildings being built through the RESOLVE Campaign and Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness. I’ve stopped here on my way to the Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmers’ Market, where I’ll get the experience of being a vendor for the day, sharing information about the Calgary Homeless Foundation’s (CHF) newest undertaking through the RESOLVE Campaign, a unique collaboration of nine Partner agencies raising $120 million to build affordable and supported rental housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians.

The yarnbombing is well underway, and as I meet up with Linda Hawke, President of the Board of This is My City Art Society (TMC), she tells me that the weather couldn’t be better. I can see flashes of colour all over the house; a rainbow of yarn has begun making its way around the four walls of the old home. A property in the Hillhurst Sunnyside community that will soon become Aurora on the Park -a 25 unit accessible, affordable housing apartment building for Calgarians exiting homelessness. But for right now, the current building on the property is TMC’s newest canvas.

Contracted by CHF to turn the existing building into a work of art for the project’s introduction into the community, Linda and her team are spending the next two weeks wrapping the house in yarn and other textiles.  When I asked her what this project means to her, she tells me, “The yarn bombing is a great example of what This is My City is all about: art bringing people together…People see the colourful afghans going up on the house and they stop in and ask about what’s going on. Art brings them in. Artists and volunteers from all walks of life are working together to make the house look amazing, each bringing their own ideas and expressions; each getting something out of it personally.”

Yarn donations have been collected from all over different communities and will become part of the artwork that graces the old home.  On June 9th, CHF will officially introduce Aurora on the Park to the community at a kick-off event open to the public. Aurora on the Park was made possible through funding from the Government of Alberta and StreetSide Developments: A Qualico Company who are one of 11 homebuilders working with CHF through the RESOLVE Campaign to end homelessness in Calgary. Along with the Government of Alberta, the home builders have committed funding to build 8 affordable housing apartment buildings throughout Calgary over the next 3 years.

Leaving Linda and her team to exercise their creative muscles, I set up camp at the Sunnyside Hillhurst community centre’s Farmers’ Market. The farmers’ market is outdoor for the first time this season, complete with a band and food trucks. The sun is shining and people are out in full force, reveling in the vendors and music. I spent the next four hours with the community’s residents, introducing the CHF’s newest project. News of the Aurora on the Park was received with a welcoming chorus of encouragement and then, as I explain TMC’s work, fascination with the art of yarn bombing.

When one little boy asks me why I’m not selling anything I explain that I’m just here to share with people what we do. When he asks me why, I explain that I work for an organization that helps people who don’t have homes, find them. He pauses for a moment and frowns. Sneaking a glance up at his mother, he offers his bedroom up as a place for someone to stay so that they can have a home too. The mother stifles a laugh as I grin. Before his mother leads him away he asks me to make sure we find homes for people so that they don’t have to be sad. Out of the mouth of babes…

When the market wound to a close I couldn’t help but think about what Linda said about the power of art. “Everybody comes together through art and at the centre of it all, people interact with each other to create, enjoy, share…and in the process they feel a little more connected to this big community we all share.”

Aurora on the Park will be unveiled on June 9th at 3 p.m.

Contact Aaron G. for more information – 403-237.6456

Possibilities in the Wind: An Artful Partnership opened on Saturday with minimal fanfare but, don’t let the low-key nature of its opening fool you. The Exhibit, which showcases the kick-off event for Stepping Stone Manor, shows the power of our collective impact when we work together to engage community, government and corporate Calgary in ending homelessness.

The exhibit, which includes eight of the original giant photos that were affixed to the house at 222 15th Ave SW prior to its demolition last June and the painted mailboxes and doors from the house along with video footage from the kick-off event  is a celebration of all that has happened over the past year to make Stepping Stone Manor possible today.

Stepping Stone Manor, a 30 unit assisted-living apartment building in the Beltlin Community, will house formerly homeless Calgarians. It will become home to its first tenants this September. Last April, 2014, CHF and the RESOLVE Campaign worked with This is My City Art Society (TMC) to create a kick-off event that would bring community together to celebrate the past of the rooming house at 222 15th Ave SW and create a pathway to a better future for those who would eventually be calling Cedarglen Living’s: Stepping Stone Manor home.

Possibilities in the Wind: An Artful Partnership is hosted by CHF and TMC as part of this year’s This is My City Festival 2015. The full calendar of events for the Festival can be found HERE on the TMC website.  Special thanks to TRUCK Contemporary Art Gallery in Calgary for their support.

We asked this year’s recipients of the Arthur R. Smith Awards 3 simple questions.

Here are their inspiring responses.

 

Written by Britany Ardelli

Have you ever felt so cold in the midst of winter your face feels frozen, like it can barely move and your legs feel like they are about to crack open? That was me at the Coldest Night of the Year Walk. This was a temporary and voluntary situation for me, but for over 3500 homeless Calgarians this can be a reoccurring feeling that they have to endure.

As I walked into EauClaire Market on Saturday, February 21st 2015 I saw people everywhere wearing matching tuques and dressed as if they were going to the ski hill.  With 400+ registered walkers to help support the Coldest Night Of the Year, I was ready to embark on a committed 5 km walk.

The walk was kicked off by the Raging Grannies singing to encourage city counsellors to vote and pass secondary suites and none other than the greatest mayor in the world, Mayor Nenshi, ensuring every volunteer and participant was thanked for our time and monetary donations.

We were then sent on our way into the cold. It’s quite ironic that it’s called The Coldest Night of the Year, because with a fresh new layer of snow, and a windy -16 degrees, it was for sure the coldest night that Calgary had seen in a few weeks.

Along the walk we had cars honking their horns in encouragement, photographers taking our pictures, and volunteers guiding our way to ensure we followed the path set out. Just over an hour later we were done and we were cold!! The thought that people stay outside all day, and even sleep in these conditions, made me so proud that I raised money and completed the walk! It was great to see the community come together to raise money and support the cause to end homelessness!

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Proceeds from the Coldest Night of the Year in Calgary will benefit Feed the Hungry and Acadia Place, a 58 unit affordable housing complex owned by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and operated by CUPS. Through the support of KAIROS, the money donated to Acadia Place will be provided to pay down the mortgage on Acadia Place through the RESOLVE Campaign, a unique collaboration of nine Partner agencies raising $120 million to build affordable and supported rental housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians, .

Thank you to the Calgary organizers of Coldest Night of the Year: the Calgary Diocese and KAIROS.

 

Volunteers make so much of what we do possible. They help keep our buildings looking spruced-up and in tip top shape. Without volunteers we would never be able to hold the Point in Time Count, or even our annual Fundraiser! Speaking of which, if you haven’t bought your tickets yet to this year’s HOME OPENER with our new Premier set to drop the puck on the last period of Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, click HERE to purchase your tickets.

One volunteer who has made a difference is a filmmaker and This is My City Arts Society (TMC) volunteer, Kevin Jesuino. Throughout the days leading up to the kick-off event for Stepping Stone Manor in the Beltline, Kevin was busy capturing everything on film on behalf of TMC, the event curator.

This is the story he created about the kick-off event.  (Thank you The Calgary Foundation for your support of the event) Stepping Stone Manor is being constructed by Cedarglen Living and  is one of 8 new developments CHF will be building over the next four years as part of the RESOLVE Campaign.

So stay tuned, we’ll be kicking off another project in the fall — watch for news about the upcoming Yarn-bombing TMC will be hosting at our soon to be built Hillhurst Sunnyside apartment building, Aurora on the Park. Like all our buildings, Aurora on the Park is made possible through funding from the Government of Alberta, Municipal Affairs and one of 8 Calgary Homebuilders participating in the RESOLVE Campaign. Thank you Qualico for your support of Aurora on the Park.