poor unwelcome, says Calgary city alderman [Canada} FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 16 Apr 1998 07:37:53 -0700 (PDT)


FWD  http://www.canoe.ca/CalgaryNews/03_n1.html
     April 15, 1998

     ALDERMAN SAYS POOR UNWELCOME

     By VICKY MEGRATH
     Calgary Sun

    Military barracks at CFB Calgary will soon house some of Calgary's
working poor, but one city alderman said she isn't so sure they're welcome.
    The city is set to announce a new deal with Canada Lands Company Ltd.
to lease space on the former military base and convert it to temporary
housing.
    The shelter will provide stopgap accommodations for people who have
jobs but can't afford -- or can't find -- affordable housing.
    "This will give people some breathing space until they find affordable
housing or save up enough for their own place," said Ald. Joanne Kerr.
    She said a person needs up to $2,000 to move into their own place for
things like a damage deposit, first month's rent, utilities deposits and
food.
    Mark McCullough, general manager of real estate for Canada Lands, said
the city is looking at buildings around the parade square on the west side
of Crowchild Tr.
    "We are in negotiations and hope to finalize an agreement in principle
this week," he said. "We are filling an interim need so it will be a
short-term lease with the
  city."
    Still, Kerr said Canada Lands has been less than willing to provide
affordable or interim housing.
    "They offered us the oldest barracks with the highest operating costs,"
said Kerr. "By the time supervision costs were added, rents would have been
$625 per month per room -- with shared bathrooms and no kitchen facilities.
    "I got their message loud and clear and it was: `We're not interested
in having you here.'"
    The deal follows months of discussions between Canada Lands, Calhome
Properties Ltd. (the city's housing agency), and city community and social
development officials.
    Mayor Al Duerr said while interim and crisis housing is desperately
needed, the first offer was unacceptable.
    Duerr knows demand for CFB sites is hot: "Unfortunately, we're here
competing with other users that will potentially generate more money for
CLC."
    Officials estimate almost half of the more than 800 homeless people in
Calgary have fulltime jobs.
    Last month, the waiting list for subsidized housing at Calhome
Properties had more than 1,100 names.
    Stuart Round of CLC said his company's mandate is "to optimize the
value" of the area to the community.
    He argues existing base housing is affordable, noting well over 300 of
the 500 available units are leased to short-term renters and newcomers to
Calgary.

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