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On Wednesday, July 5, our Executive Director, Heather Morley, was named as a co-chair to the City of Calgary’s Downtown Safety Leadership table. Together with co-chair Mark Garner of the Calgary Downtown Association, they will convene a group of downtown leaders to recommend immediate actions to address safety in the city’s downtown core.

At Inn from the Cold, we are committed to the well-being of this great city and its residents, especially its most vulnerable.  We share in the City’s vision of a vibrant downtown that serves and supports all.

In October 2022, Inn from the Cold, moved our operations and programming into the downtown core, creating affordable housing for families in need through an innovative office-to-residential conversion with HomeSpace.  We are proud to be located downtown along 7th Avenue in a purpose-built facility that offers shelter, affordable housing and supportive programs to families experiencing homelessness under one roof.  

We believe that downtown needs to be more than just skyscrapers and commercial spaces — we need community, homes, parks, thriving businesses and inclusive places to live, work, visit and play. Our hope for families who come to The Inn is that they settle into their homes, feel a part of a supportive community, and thrive. 

But because we are located in the downtown core, we see every day all around us the challenges with safety, mental health, addictions and social disorder. The families we serve are affected by it, as are our hardworking and dedicated staff.

We are in unique and uncharted times in Calgary.  Like many urban centres, we are in an affordable housing crisis, facing economic challenges with growing disparities and experiencing extraordinary rates of mental health crises and a dangerous and toxic drug supply.  We see predatory behaviour exploiting the most vulnerable every day, and it is, unfortunately, most visible on the streets in downtown Calgary.  

There is no single reason why downtown Calgary is in this place and no singular way to fix it. It will take partnership and collaboration, doing differently and doing better.  Heather believes in the power of meaningful discussion and collective action and looks forward to learning and working with this leadership table to help create a safer and more vibrant downtown, one all Calgarians can be proud of.