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Residents of Calgary affordable housing building raise concerns about closure and conditions

Click to play video: 'Residents of Calgary affordable housing high-rise raise concerns about living conditions' Residents of Calgary affordable housing high-rise raise concerns about living conditions
WATCH: Residents of a Calgary affordable housing complex that is slated to be decommissioned are expressing concerns about the state of the building and where they will live now. Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports – Apr 8, 2021

Residents of a Calgary affordable housing complex that is slated to be decommissioned are expressing concerns about the state of the building and where they will live in the future.

Read more: Calgary’s Bridgeland Place affordable housing complex to be decommissioned

More than 300 people will have to move out of Bridgeland Place because of a city decision to shut down the building by the end of 2022.

The building is owned by the City of Calgary and the Calgary Housing Company (CHC) manages it.

Kavin Sheikheldin has lived in Bridgeland Place with her mother her whole life. The 23 year old is on AISH and, despite not knowing where they will be living after they move, she’s happy to be getting out.

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“There are cockroaches and bedbugs. This building has lots of issues such as theft, vandalism, graffiti, plumbing and other maintenance problems.”

Calgary Housing Company acknowledges the building has problems.

“We are well aware of the operating challenges and the impact that has had on the residents,” said Meaghan Bell, vice president of customer experience at CHC.

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Kate Lewis pays $300 a month for her unit at Bridgeland Place. She said if residents go to affordable housing outside of Calgary Housing Company they could face a rent increase of around $200 a month.

“Which, in the rent scheme, is not a big deal but when you’re on a fixed income, it’s screaming,” Lewis said.

Bell said that CHC has capacity within its housing programs that should keep people from facing rent increases.

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“Any resident that wants to stay with Calgary Housing Company with a rent geared to income model, and their needs can’t be met through another provider, we have the capacity and we will be rehousing them in our programs,” Bell said.

“There won’t be any change or impact to their rent structure.”

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She said work is underway to create more affordable housing in Calgary. Right now the city remains well below the national average for affordable housing stock and this situation isn’t helping.

“Certainly the closure (of Bridgeland Place) and the work that we will be doing to support all the residents for rehousing will have an impact on the affordable housing sector,” Bell said.

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Bell said the average portion of rental stock that’s considered affordable nationally is around six per cent, whereas Calgary is around 3.5 per cent.

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CHC officials are meeting with the operators of the non-profit daycare in the building on Monday about possible assistance in relocating.

The city is now studying what will happen to the building and the land it sits on.

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