Monday, November 16, 2009

City donates $4 million to The Mustard Seed

The City of Calgary is giving The Mustard Seed $4 million to construct affordable housing units for the homeless.

The grant, which is for capital expenditures, was given on the 5th Annual National Housing Day, Nov. 10, 2009.

“This new building represents more than a roof over their heads for the men and women who will live there,” said The Mustard Seed CEO Pat Nixon. “City Council and The City’s administration team have provided valuable advice and support over the past two years. We’re determined to work together to create a legacy for all Calgarians for decades to come.”

The Mustard Seed Street Ministry is a non-profit Christian humanitarian organization that has been caring for Calgary's homeless for 25 years. It helps meet the essential needs of the less fortunate through food, clothing, and shelter provisions. The Mustard Seed also provides education and employment training programs.

The grant will pay for the construction of an 18-storey modern mixed-use apartment building with permanent supportive housing in 196 studio apartments and 28 one-bedroom suites.
There will also be extensive on-site programs and services, public meeting spaces and a conference facility.

More affordable housing in Calgary has been funded this past year than in any previous year for more than a decade. The Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, and generous Calgarians also contributed to these achievements.

Today’s grant is part of the Alberta Government’s Municipal Block Funding Grant for capital development of affordable housing. The City of Calgary received block funding from the provincial department of Housing and Urban Affairs in the 2007, 2008, and 2009 budgets, and has assigned funds for specific areas of affordable housing development, including providing grants to community housing agencies, such as The Mustard Seed.

The City has responded to the critical issue of homelessness and affordable housing for several years – along with the major rent subsidy program, lands have been made available for shelters and housing development. The City continues to develop innovative strategies to increase – and sustain - the supply of affordable housing in Calgary. For instance, The City is channelling $7 million per year (2008-2010) into the New Start rent subsidy program, creating access to another 1,034 dwelling units.

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