News » The Calgary Home Builders Foundation’s $350,000 renovation of the of the YWCA

More women in need will have a safe haven to call their temporary home following the opening of new supportive housing units Wednesday.

The Calgary Home Builders Foundation’s $350,000 renovation of the seventh floor of the YWCA Mary Dover House was unveiled, revealing 14 beds for vulnerable women, which will make a small, but important dent in a population very much in need.

“Last year we had to turn away almost 1,500 women,” said Karen Orser, associate director of housing with the YWCA.

“Every time we have to turn a woman away, its heartbreaking because we know she doesn’t have a safe place to turn.

“A safe, affordable place for women is so needed.”

The new spaces at Mary Dover House bring the short-term supportive housing facility’s bed count to 100, which is significant in celebrating the YWCA of Calgary’s centennial this year.

The organization should be able to increase its life skills programming for clients thanks to a new study lounge and workshop room, said Orser.

Jim Smith, president of the Calgary Home Builders Foundation (CHBF), said on top of the $350,000 project plan, there was also $75,000 worth of materials and services given in kind by vendors and suppliers.

The project, which took just under five months to complete, transformed offices that were previously leased to another charity into bedrooms for the YWCA.

Workers put in a new kitchen facility with extra cupboards and prep space as well as a dishwasher, replaced common washrooms with new facilities including vanities and showers, replaced all the windows and installed new commercial-grade linoleum.

Smith said the project fell under the CHBF’s mandate to provide shelter to those in need and would “help lessen that number of people who would be turned away or sent to other agencies.”

Thirty-seven vendors and suppliers helped out.

The CHBF has provided 5,300 bed spaces in Calgary over the last 25 years and invested about $4.5 million.

" Vulnerable women gain more housing options" www.calgarysun.com. 22 July, 2011 Calgary Sun