Province kicks in $4M for affordable, accessible housing in Calgary

The Alberta government is kicking in $4 million to help build affordable housing for those with mobility issues in northwest Calgary.

Money is part of $13-million fund announced in the budget to help ease shortage

Stewart Midwinter suffered a spinal cord injury and was left without a home before he found an affordable, accessible space at Capitol Hill. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

The Alberta government is kicking in $4 million to help build affordable housing for those with mobility issues in northwest Calgary. 

The rest of the money for the 45-unit complex was raised by the non-profit group Accessible Housing Calgary, which will operate the new facility.

"It's a huge investment by the government of Alberta to basically say that everyone ought to belong," said AHC spokesperson Jeff Dyer.

He said the new building will replace a much smaller and older facility in Capitol Hill.

Home, not an institution

The province has committed a total of $13 million in this year's budget to build housing for those with complex needs.

Stewart Midwinter suffered a spinal chord injury a few years ago and found himself without a home after undergoing surgery and rehabilitation.

Then a spot opened up at the building in Capitol Hill that will be replaced. It provides housing for nearly a dozen people.

"It is not an overstatement to say this completely changed my life being able to be here," he said, adding it was important to have a space where he could thrive and "move forward," rather than just survive his injury. 

Big demand

Dyer said there is an ongoing need and tremendous demand for this kind of housing.

"We actually get three phone calls every day from someone who's in a precarious housing situation that could live in this environment," he said. "We know that we have to advocate for the built environment to change." 

The new building is expected to be complete by the fall 2017. 

With files from Colleen Underwood