Affordable, barrier-free housing project breaks ground in northwest Calgary

Construction of a new accessible housing facility in northwest Calgary got underway Thursday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

45-bed facility in Capital Hill made possible by $5.6M donation

There was a groundbreaking on Thursday for a 45-bed housing project in Capitol Hill for people with limited mobility. (@AccessibleYYC/Twitter)

Construction of a new accessible housing facility in northwest Calgary got underway Thursday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The building on 23rd Avenue N.W. in Capitol Hill will provide affordable housing for 45 people with limited mobility.

"Having a place to call home is the foundation for building a meaningful life," said Jeff Dyer, CEO of Accessible Housing, the not-for-profit group behind the project.

"With the creation of these unique new homes, more individuals will be able to thrive and contribute to our community. It is a momentous first-time celebration for Calgary."

A $5.6-million donation from Bill Kujat of Safeway Holdings, Bob Harris of Centron Group of Companies, Charlie Guille of Cougar Contractors Ltd. and Ross Glen of RGO Office Products and their families helped make the project possible.

Charlie Guille donated an additional $1 million before he passed away this spring, bringing the combined total to $6.6 million.

"He will always be remembered for his incredible generosity and commitment to those in need," Accessible Housing said in a release. 

Funding also came from the Alberta government, BMO Financial Group, Trico Homes and other donors.

By 2019 an estimated 200,000 Calgarians over the age of 15 will be living with a disability, Accessible Housing says.

People with disabilities are four times more likely to require homeless shelters compared to those without disabilities.

The facility is being built on land currently used by Accessible Housing, to increase the previous 11 units to 45.

The new barrier-free building will offer multi-purpose rooms, office space, a commercial kitchen and underground parking.

"More importantly, this building will offer the security and stability of a home for 45 people with physical disabilities who might otherwise be forced to live in unsuitable, unsafe housing and access emergency medical services more frequently and stay in hospital for longer periods of time," Accessible Housing said in a release.

Construction is expected to be finished by late 2017 or early 2018.