Affordable housing for women and children opens in Calgary's Inglewood neighbourhood

WATCH: YW Calgary is opening a new affordable housing building for women and children fleeing domestic violence. As Adam MacVicar reports, it comes as demand for shelter services continues to grow.

A new affordable housing building for women and children will be providing long-term housing solutions in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood.

YW Calgary announced the completion of the building alongside the City of Calgary as well as the provincial and federal governments Wednesday morning.

The building aims to provide homes for those escaping domestic violence who often have limited options after their 21-day stay has expired at a shelter.

The new facility will provide 21 two- and three-bedroom units for women and children. Residents will also have access to YW’s programs and services, such as counselling and parenting programs.

It will also have a shelter that will provide emergency housing for families fleeing domestic violence.

Sue Tomney, chief executive officer of YW Calgary, said families will start moving in next month. The shelter will be open in the summer.

YW Calgary said it has used trauma-informed design principles throughout the building to foster healing and a sense of safety for residents. These design principles recognize and address the needs and priorities of women and children, the non-profit said.

“This building is trauma-informed and has an inclusive design. In the shelter, you are able to smudge in any room and it’s a pet-friendly shelter,” Tomney said at the news conference.

“One-third of the women accessing our services are Indigenous women, so we need to meet women where they are and make sure we’re giving a space that gives them dignity.

“The facility will also expand our outreach services. We’re able to go out and meet women who need to access shelters.”

The project received funding from all three levels of government. The Alberta government provided $2.4 million for the project, while the federal government provided $10.4 million to support the shelter and another $7 million for the affordable housing project.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the City of Calgary helped by providing $2.5 million in funding and the land required to build the facility.

“This type of project is community-led. The fact it combines trauma-informed care with affordable housing is critical for families fleeing violence,” Gondek said.

“I am absolutely thrilled that we were able to work together as three levels of government who are committed to taking care of our constituents.”

Social Services Minister Jeremy Nixon said there is still a huge need for affordable housing in the city and the Alberta government is committed to funding more affordable housing initiatives in the province.

He said his father was a homeless youth who grew up on the streets after fleeing from his abusive home with his grandmother, he said.

“It’s so critical that we are all involved … The government can do so much,” Nixon told reporters on Wednesday.

“Women in our society have an opportunity to have a home … We need to make sure that all Albertans have a safe place to call home.”

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