A supportive housing and addiction support service is starting a new chapter in Edmonton’s Castle Downs neighbourhood.
On Thursday, the Salvation Army held a grand opening celebration for its new Grace Village facility.
“Great to have finally a celebration where we can recognize all of the hard work – the many years of preparation, planning,” said Elaine Bridger, executive director of the Salvation Army Edmonton Centre for Hope.
“The space is a dignified space, it’s a calming space — lots of personal areas they can sit in private.”
The brand new 175-bed facility replaced the old downtown location that was built in 1954 and had run its course.
“The infrastructure, the plumbing, the systems were failing — it’s an old structure,” Bridger said.
“A lot of success out of downtown that we can give thanks for and be grateful for and this is a new chapter.”
The new location houses three programs.
There are 32 stabilization beds providing short-term housing for those working towards the next step in recovery.
Seventy-one transitional beds will be used for people on their journey to permanent housing.
Seventy-two supportive living beds will provide safe housing with supports for those who can’t live independently.
“Many are affected by mental health and there’s many that have experience with addiction in the past or present,” Bridger explained. “But for whatever reason, and a lot of it is through trauma and generational trauma, find themselves without a home and need some support to get back on track — so that’s where we come in.”
Standing in front of the new building, former resident of the downtown location, Adam Walker, talked about his road to recovery. He was a meth addict.
“I was lost and I found them downtown and, honestly, the staff were great. It took a while for me to get into it, but once I did, they helped me so much,” Walker said.
“They show you the way again … that’s what I love the most. I can still call and talk to them now and I’ve been gone almost a year.”
The nearly $35-million project is also net zero. It’s geothermal with solar panels, so energy cost savings will go back into programming.
“I think if you’re comfortable in your surroundings, you can be comfortable in your growth, you can be comfortable in stepping out,” said Lt. Col. Brian Venables, Salvation Army director of Public Affairs and Public Relations.
“You can be confident when you come home at night. You’ve got a nice place to come home to.”
Residents started moving into Grace Village in May.