Calgary

Legacy of residential schools on display at Calgary shelter says director

The director of Calgary's largest homeless shelter for families says the legacy of residential schools is right outside her office door — mothers, fathers and kids who have no place to call home.

Not uncommon for landlords to refuse to rent to Inn From the Cold's aboriginal clients

Linda McLean, executive director of Inn from the Cold, says she sees the legacy of residential schools everyday. (CBC)

The director of Calgary's largest homeless shelter for families says the legacy of residential schools is right outside her office door — mothers, fathers and kids who have no place to call home.

"For a lot of people it's sort of, 'that's ancient history, get over it, what's the problem.' It's not ancient history," said Linda McLean of Inn From the Cold.

Eli Martell, who went to a residential school, is one of the shelter's guests. He moved to Calgary with his wife and their four children to find a better life, but he's now homeless.

His wife has taken off, and as he sits in the shelter struggling with two of his children, he says he's not far off from bolting as well.

"I see that every day here, single parents struggling, struggling, struggling," he said. "They don't have nowhere to go."

'This isn't new'

McLean says a lot of the people she helps find shelter for were once guests when they were children. "For a lot of them this isn't new," she said.

People are talking more openly about the poor treatment of Canada's First Nations she said, particularly with the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on June 2, but there's still a long way to go.

"We work every day to help people find housing and it is not at all uncommon for landlords to refuse to rent to our families because they're aboriginal," said McLean. "They remain stuck in this cycle. It remains very much a not-so-subtle practice."