Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary opens a new Urban Indigenous Seniors Living Facility in Calgary
Opening today, 12-one-bedroom units for Calgary’s Elders offering affordable housing and a safe space for social and cultural connections is just the beginning.
The Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary (AFCC) is pleased to celebrate the new Indigenous Elders’ Lodge opening today. Elders and special guests will gather in a ceremony for the grand opening located in the Highland Park community in northwest Calgary.
“This incredible and much overdue new facility will feature 12 units of affordable housing for Elders and provide cultural gathering spaces for residents to practice land-based teachings, hold ceremonies, and promote healing,” says AFCC CEO, Shane Gauthier. “This will not just be a building, but a safe space for Indigenous seniors who are ‘vulnerable’ or ‘at-risk’ and have likely experienced discrimination, abuse,
exclusion, and hardship. This six-million-dollar building is a welcoming place for our seniors to socially connect and access supports that will improve their lives. The building is expected to produce 14,156 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year due to the cutting edge solar energy system. This will drastically reduce our carbon footprint and further reduce environmental impact.”
Many funders and partners came together in a shared vision to create this one-of-a-kind best practice model for other jurisdictions. Funded by the Government of Alberta, Calgary Homeless Foundation, Calgary Foundation, and Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, The City of Calgary provided integral support for this project by selling land below market value through their non-market housing land sale program and by providing expedited planning approvals for the project. This building is a legacy and is an example of collaboration and commitment between partners to support Indigenous led housing projects to address the needs of urban Indigenous Elders in a time of profound housing crisis.
Blackfoot Elder Jackie Bromley describes the Elders’ Lodge as “a safe space to live for Elders to build communication, explore language and reconnect with culture.”
Elder Reg Crowshoe and Elder Rose Crowshoe, who last year were named Members of the Order of Canada for their commitment to preservation of Blackfoot culture and reconciliation, expand on the
importance of ethical space. “Indigenous oral ethical spaces are represented in circles. Indigenous Elders build human resources and knowledge capacity in the safety of circles and the Lodge represents the safety of Elders.”
Government of Alberta:
"Alberta’s government is proud to provide support for the Elders’ Lodge through the Indigenous Housing Capital Program. Affordable housing like the units we are celebrating here today allow people to build their futures, connect with their culture, and strengthen their communities. This project showcases our determination to provide housing solutions that respect cultural needs and empower Indigenous families."
--Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services
City of Calgary:
“I am immensely proud to witness the opening of the new Urban Indigenous Seniors Living Facility. This building represents not only a physical structure but a symbol of our city’s commitment to inclusivity, cultural diversity and respect for our Indigenous Elders. Ensuring that Elders can age with dignity and grace while remaining connected to their cultural roots is a milestone in our journey towards a more harmonious and inclusive Calgary. Today, we take a significant step forward in building a city that truly embraces and celebrates the rich tapestry of cultures that make us who we are.” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek
Calgary Homeless Foundation:
“Supporting the Indigenous Elders' Lodge, we are honored to actively contribute to safeguarding cultural heritage through the establishment of a unique building tailored specifically for Indigenous Elders. This lodge is not only a place to call home, but a place for the sharing of wisdom, traditional ceremonies, storytelling, and healing practices.” said Patricia Jones, President and CEO.
“From our first grant given to the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary in 1966, the Calgary Foundation has valued our decades long partnership built on mutual respect, trust and shared values. Through the Foundation’s Major Grants Program, we are honoured to have supported the Elder’s Lodge, recognizing the significant impact of creating a healing environment, and providing safe, affordable housing.” said Eva Friesen, President and CEO.