Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 21, 2003
A home at last
Christian dollars help fund 114 Gravelle habitat
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Christian generosity is helping some handicapped people achieve their dream of living in decent, affordable housing.
Several Christian groups contributed thousands of dollars toward a new long-term housing complex for persons with disabilities that opened officially July 14 at 11418-97 St. The four-storey, $6.3-million facility was built by the Handicapped Housing Society of Alberta.
Two years ago, the District Council of Churches, the Social Justice Commission and the Quality of Life Commission contributed more than $25,000 toward the project.
The money came from the 2001 No Room In The Inn collection conducted by Christian churches during Christmas. The Edmonton Housing Trust Fund and the government of Canada also provided funding toward the project.
The new facility is made of steel and has 68 units of one, two and three bedrooms, all of them accessible to persons in wheelchairs. The facility offers meal service to the residents, as well as services to persons who are in transition from acute or rehabilitative care. There is also 24-hour staff on site in case of emergencies.
According to David Haut, director of the Handicapped Housing Society of Alberta, 114 Gravelle, as the complex is called, is not just restricted to people with disabilities.
Haut said two thirds of the building is on a subsidized rate, which means handicapped residents pay about 30 per cent of their monthly income. The remainder of the building is open to anyone who wants to rent an apartment building at regular market rates.
"By mixing in families and people off the streets and friends you walk into the building and it is alive with life."
- David Haut
"We don't want to fill our buildings up 100 per cent with people with disabilities," he said. "In order to keep the building healthy, in order to allow families to move in, we made a decision to keep a mixed population."
Haut noted some parents have moved in with their handicapped children, or have rented apartments side by side.
"This keeps the family connection together and allows the disabled child or in some cases the disabled parent, to access services," he said. "By mixing in families and people off the streets and friends you walk into the building and it is alive with life."
There are 1,600 clients on the complex's waiting list. When the building became ready for occupancy a month ago, preference was given to "people that were in the absolute most need, such as those that were being discharged from hospitals and had nowhere to go or were actually living on the street," Haut said.