Red Deer celebrates new affordable housing

    RED DEER, AB, May 22 /CNW/ - Potters Hands Development Limited and the
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) celebrated the official opening of a
40-unit apartment building in downtown Red Deer. The Buffalo provides
permanent affordable housing and support services to persons living with
addiction or mental illness.
    The Buffalo project was officially opened today by Earl Dreeshen, Member
of Parliament for Red Deer, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister
of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); Mayor Morris Flewwelling, on
behalf of the City of Red Deer; Stan Schalk on behalf of Potters Hands, and
Patricia Turnbull on behalf of CMHA.
    "The Government of Canada is committed to making affordable housing
available in Alberta and across Canada for those who need it most," said MP
Dreeshen. "With the opening of this housing project, persons with special
needs in Red Deer will access suitable, supportive housing that will help them
start a new page in their lives."
    "I commend the staff and volunteers of the Buffalo Housing First Program
for taking the initiative to provide housing and support services for some of
our most vulnerable citizens in Red Deer," said Cal Dallas, MLA for Red
Deer-South. "The program aligns with Alberta's "Housing First" approach and
serves as a model for government, stakeholders and community organizations in
ending homelessness in Alberta."
    The Buffalo is owned by Potters Hands Development Limited and operated by
the Canadian Mental Health Association. Funding for the project's renovation
includes $960,000 from CMHC's Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program
(RRAP), $75,000 through CMHC's Proposal Development Funding Program, and
$854,000 from the Government of Alberta.
    The Buffalo uses a "Housing First" philosophy which moves people directly
into permanent housing from living on the streets or in shelters. Staff
members assist tenants with day-to-day tasks such as laundry, cooking and
housekeeping. Support staff may also help tenants find suitable activities,
volunteer or employment opportunities or medical services.
    "The Buffalo has truly made a difference in the Red Deer community," said
Patricia Turnbull, Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health
Association. "Many men and women who were sleeping on the streets now have a
place to call home."
    CMHC's RRAP programs provide funding for home modifications to help the
elderly and disabled remain independent in their homes. The programs aim to
preserve housing for people at risk of homelessness. RRAP and related programs
help to improve living conditions for seniors, persons living with
disabilities, victims of family violence and Aboriginal peoples.
    HUA's Outreach Support Services program will provide $32 million in
2009/10 to address the underlying causes of homelessness. The funding supports
community-based initiatives that offer client-centered services which include
a variety of programming such as addictions counselling and life skills
    Last fall, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over
the next five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help
the homeless. Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional
one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing
social housing and lending of up to another $2 billion to municipalities for
housing-related infrastructure.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary,
Office of Minister Finley, Tel.: (819) 994-2482, Email:; Patricia Turnbull, Canadian Mental Health
Association, Tel. (403) 342-2266, Email:;
Kimberlee Jones, Senior Communications Consultant, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, Tel. (403) 515-3048, Email:; Barbra Korol, Alberta
Housing and Urban Affairs, Tel. (780) 644-6838, Email:

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