On May 19, The Provincial Housing and Wraparound Services Committee turned their quarterly provincial meeting into a visit to two developments in Red Deer.  The invitation was also extended to the Aspires family group and Edmonton families such as the members of the recently formed Autism Independent Living Association. (AILA)   

The group met at Timberstone Mews, a retirement community developed by CDLHomes (Christenson Communities) offering tenants’ Choice and Supports to meet Individuals’ needs with along with the opportunity to age in place.  Our tour host, Jean Bernes, Christenson Communities provided us with a comprehensive tour of unit types, sizes and amenities.  Lunch was prepared by the resident chef and we had access to one of the gathering rooms for the day. Of significant interest to our group were  3 units on the lower level which Kim Fox (Red Deer resident and provincial committee member) had identified as having potential to work for 2-3 adults with disabilities to live semi-independently but with supports.   The units are near the recreation area and apart from seniors units.  Tenants would have access to all of the meal plans and services, supports offered to all tenants. 

We also visited Garden Heights; a development housing 20 individuals receiving supports from Catholic Social Services. (CSS)  Ed Larkcom, the developer, building owner and landlord for Garden Heights worked with CSS to custom design affordable rental accommodation to meet the needs of the individuals the project was being designed to house.  The Garden Heights development includes 2 three-bedroom fully staffed units.  The second and third floor are 2 bedroom and 1 bedroom units which CSS also provides tenants with supports as needed.  The lower level is developed to provide a large multi-purpose space, individual storage space for clients and a staff room.  Because the building is designed based on an average affordable unit rate per tenant, common use spaces were provided for the benefit of the staff and tenants without affecting the developer’s bottom line.  Ed Markham also shared other sites he has developed using the same business model.  He continues to develop safe, client centered design in his properties.  A few developers in Calgary are also building and operating properties in partnership with agencies but this model seems to work well and from what we saw this developer is a leader in raising the bar!   

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