Calgary

Shelter beds for homeless seniors face closure

A Calgary shelter for seniors says it will have to eliminate several beds unless it can find more funding.

The Kerby Centre in downtown Calgary needs new funding to keep 6 of 15 beds open

A Calgary shelter for seniors says it will have to close beds unless it can find more funding. 2:19

A Calgary shelter for seniors says it will have to eliminate several beds unless it can find more funding.

The Kerby Centre operates a shelter with nine beds, funded by the province, for seniors who are escaping elder abuse.   

Six beds for homeless seniors were added four years ago at the downtown facility.    

But now the funding for those beds, which came from a variety of sources, has dried up, said Kerby Centre CEO Luanne Whitmarsh.

"The beds are always full. We're running at over 100 per cent capacity because we're not very good at saying no," she said.

Whitmarsh said funding requests to the government and social agencies have been turned down.

Now she’s hopeful one or more corporations will come up with the $200,000 needed to keep the beds open.

If not, the beds will close next month, she said.

The province told CBC News the request from the Kerby Centre came too late, so all the money for this year has been spoken for.

But Calgary MLA Kent Hehr says the province has a duty to protect vulnerable seniors.

He says the centre has a huge success rate.

"Finding people a place to live within three months, the unique supports they have at the Kerby, the understanding of aging ... gives them a great position to work with people in getting them out of dangerous situations into a place where they can live in the community," said Hehr.