The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

In conjunction with Calgary’s 10-year bid to end homelessness, the RESOLVE campaign is coming to end after years of assisting a marginalized community through supportive housing. The campaign recently broke ground on their sixth project, The Maple.

On March 31, the campaign will wrap up a six-year journey where it has raised over $70 million to house 1,592 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians, falling  short of their initial objective. Despite some major setbacks, Cheryl Hamelin, the executive director of the RESOLVE campaign, still believes that the ultimate goal of reaching $120 million and housing 3,000 homeless can be reached.

“What we need to have happen is we need gifts to be committed to prior to the end of March. Somebody can make a $200,000 gift, and stretch it out for three years. But we need that commitment in the door by the end of March,” says Hamelin.

Both the flood of 2013 and the Fort McMurray fires were major setbacks for the campaign, as substantial financial contributions were put on hold due to the natural disasters. Nonetheless, Hamelin says the campaign will still push for new donors after the March 31 date is reached.

“The campaign as a ‘campaign’ will end. It’s been going for six years, and I think it’s time,” says Hamelin. “It’s time for that incredible push of a capital campaign to end. However, we are going to keep a skeleton staff – probably three people, that’s the maximum we can manage – and I think that’s all we’ll really need for the year post-campaign. Keeping a skeleton staff for one year, and those folks will do the stewardship, make sure that all the donor reporting, all the financial obligations are handled.”

Although there has been major speculation regarding the effectiveness of the RESOLVE campaign’s “housing first” approach, along with Calgary’s bid to end homelessness, Hamelin believes it has created a model that could be effective going forward.

“I believe that the collaborative spirit that was created by the campaign, that the spirit of those nine people working together, that was valuable to the community … as valuable as the money,” says Hamelin. It’s created a model for others to potentially replicate, not only in Calgary in different sectors but across Canada and potentially across North America and globally.”

“Housing first really is the key.”

One of the individuals who have directly benefited from the housing first model is Lyndon (Zeus) Johnston. Living on and off the street for over 10 years, Johnston believes that RESOLVE’s role has had significant impact in the mission to end homelessness in Calgary.

“They all came together, they’re all doing their part building. There’s still lots of money to be raised out there, but once it’s all done, these houses being built, these apartments and stuff, you have to keep going,” says Johnston.

Johnston, however, believes that housing is only the first step in the process.

“I think the next steps should be that the people that aren’t being looked after at the moment, that are out their working daily in their temporary jobs should get a chance to [be housed],” says Johnston.

For more on the RESOLVE campaign and Johnston’s story, see the video below.

After years of addressing homelessness in Calgary through supportive housing, the RESOLVE campaign is coming to an end on March 31. Produced by Alec Warkentin and Colin Macgillivray.

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Editor: Paul McAleer | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.