CALGARY- Despite opposition from the surrounding community, the Calgary Drop-In Centre is going ahead with its plan to transform a former hotel into transitional housing for the homeless.
On Monday, it filed a development permit to begin renovating the old Quality Inn, located near the airport in Greenview. The organization paid $8 million for the building which has 120 suites, and says it’s time to put it to good use—despite concerns from those who live nearby.
“I think there are some people that won’t be convinced,” chair Andy Lockhart concedes. “It has been difficult in the sense that we haven’t really been in a position to gain their support, and we’re continuing to try to do that.”
Some residents are concerned it will bring an increase in drug use and crime to the area.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” says Garnet Freed. “I know where the Drop-In is, and the people that walk around in there, and what they do—needles and everything.”
The mayor agrees the Drop-In Centre hasn’t done enough to address concerns.
“The development permit doesn’t make it clear, is this affordable housing? Is it assisted living? Is it a mix?” Naheed Nenshi said. “These are a lot of questions the community has. Probably everything from day one, from their perspective, could have been done differently.”
The Drop-In Centre says the facility will have 24 security cameras, in an effort to keep the community safe. Daily meals would be served, and only those with jobs or some sort of income would qualify for the housing.
An estimated 40 to 50 per cent of the organization’s clients have full or part-time jobs.