Inn From the Cold abandons plans for Erlton shelter after neighbourhood opposition
Community group says it was worried about the facility’s size
A local non-profit has axed its plans to move its homeless shelter from its downtown location to a former school in southwest Calgary after facing heated opposition from area residents.
Inn From the Cold executive director Abe Brown said the charity's current spot on 11th Avenue S.E. is not ideal for homeless families with young children looking to get back on their feet. He said the shelter is close to busy traffic and doesn't have any playgrounds.
Brown said they were in early talks to move the shelter to the site of the former Erlton Elementary School on 28th Avenue S.W. He said families would have had a better chance of integrating with the local community, which he said is important for those trying get out of homelessness.
"The children would actually have a chance to build relationships with some neighbours and other children," he said.
The building would have provided emergency shelter beds, short-term assisted living spaces and areas the neighbourhood could share, such as a boardroom and community garden.
'Just not compatible'
A local neighbourhood group opposed to the plan and voted at its most recent annual meeting to inform Inn From the Cold that "we have no interest in having the facility in our community."
Bill Fischer, of the Erlton Community Association, said the proposal is out of step with city planning policies for the area. He said residents are most worried about the proposed facility's size, spanning 50,000 square feet.
He said "the scale is just not compatible" with a residential community, though he said the opposition was not due to the low-income status of the shelter's would-be residents.
Brown said Inn From the Cold has walked away from its proposal, which he described as a "big idea" without any formal drawings or plans. He said the Inn isn't looking at other possible locations any time soon.
"Supporting vulnerable children and families is never a bad idea," he said. "If anything we would add value to the community as opposed to taking away value."
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