Centre 4800 is a mixed-market project with affordable rental units and supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness. The project is operated using the Housing First approach to tackle chronic homelessness.
3 Key Goals
The project is operated using the Housing First approach to improve long-term outcomes.
A mixed-market model that incorporates supportive and affordable rental housing ensures financial sustainability.
An experienced project team and a diversity of partners contributed to the success of this major renovation project.
Project scope and expected outcomes
The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society is a charity that has helped people living in extreme poverty and homelessness in northeast Calgary since 1963. Known to the community as “The DI,” it owns and operates a range of buildings, including 150 affordable housing units. The Society provides shelter, housing, and wrap-around supports to some of Calgary’s most vulnerable residents.
Located in Calgary’s Highland Park neighbourhood, Centre 4800 is the Society’s third affordable housing building.
Extensive renovations overhaul a tired Quality Inn hotel
The DI renovated the former 7-storey Quality Inn hotel at 4804 Edmonton Trail NE that it purchased in 2012.
Built in 1964, the building is concrete block construction. It was poorly insulated and had single-pane windows. Chandos Construction has a diverse portfolio and brought its expertise to the extensive renovations needed to bring the building up to modern standards.
- refurbishing the building’s mechanical, plumbing and life-support systems
- repairing the elevators and roof
- gutting and redesigning the building’s interior
- replacing the insulation
Thanks to the complete overhaul, the building now has:
- 33 studio units
- 39 one-bedroom units
- 7 two-bedroom units
- 6,500 square feet of community space
- 13,000 square feet of commercial rental space that’s used by an affordable daycare and medical service providers for at-risk populations
A Housing First approach keeps people housed and off the street
The DI operates Centre 4800 using the Housing First approach. This is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness. It focuses on:
- providing independent and permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness
- offering tailored supports and services to help residents reach their full potential
The Housing First approach improves long-term housing and life outcomes. It’s also more affordable in the long term than band-aid solutions to addressing homelessness.
A mixed-market model ensures financial sustainability – and fosters social inclusion
Centre 4800 was built as a mixed-market project to ensure its financial sustainability into the future.
- 8 of the units are fully accessible and are targeted to people experiencing chronic homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- 46 units are rent-geared-to-income (30% of gross income)
- The 33 studio units are rented at median market rates (80% of market rent), not exceeding $600 per month. These units are considered affordable by the City of Calgary.
In addition to being financially sustainable, the mixed-market model has the added benefit of creating community in the building. This fosters social connection and a sense of belonging, which helps residents to successfully maintain their housing.
The Calgary Homeless Foundation’s Coordinated Access Committee and other community referrals direct people experiencing homelessness to the project. Demographic data shows that close to half of chronic shelter users are seniors over the age of 55 who are functionally geriatric. They need housing that’s both supportive and accessible.
Community partners provide wrap-around supports allowing people to age in place:
- Alberta Health Services Home Care provides medical supports, which will help residents to age in place.
The DI partnered with The Alex (a Calgary health centre) to provide a
wellness centre for the building residents and the larger community. The
wellness centre has health and social supports such as:
- community gardens
- programs to foster social inclusion and community engagement
The voices of people with lived experience of homelessness inform Centre 4800’s programs and services. This ensures that programs and services are helpful in addressing their unique needs.
The project was made possible by a diversity of contributions and support
- The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society provided cash equity of over $1.6 million.
- CMHC provided $8.78 million in funding through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund – Revitalization stream.
- CMHC also provided $50,000 in Seed Funding to cover the costs of appraisals, geotechnical investigations and architectural drawings.
- The Government of Alberta provided a $5.17-million capital grant under the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs’ homeless initiative to purchase the property.
- The City of Calgary provided $151,000 in funding.
The project team maximized accessibility throughout the building as much as possible. In the end, 10% (8 of the 79 units) are accessible. The team was up against limitations of the older building, which had originally been designed as a hotel.
While accessibility falls short of National Housing Co-Investment Fund requirements, CMHC offered some flexibility. This is because Centre 4800 includes supportive housing, meeting an urgent community need.
In addition to the 8 accessible units, accessibility features include:
- parking for people with disabilities
- a near-door drop off for passengers
- motion activated and barrier-free entrance doors
- barrier-free common spaces with extra-wide doors
- barrier-free laundry facilities
- fully accessible, barrier-free elevators
- non-slip flooring design
- walk- and roll-in showers
- even flooring throughout common areas and suites
- emergency generator back up power for critical services
The project’s renovations resulted in a 26% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions relative to National Building Code of Canada 2015 standards.
Initiative Name: Centre 4800
Location: Calgary, Alberta
National Housing Strategy Initiative: National Housing Co-Investment Fund – Revitalization
- The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society
- Chandos Construction
- The Calgary Homelessness Foundation
- The Government of Alberta
- The City of Calgary
National Housing Strategy Priority Areas:
- People experiencing homelessness