When Roger McMechan, RESOLVE Cabinet Member, approached Matt Brister, Calgary Geologist and philanthropist, about donating to the RESOLVE Campaign, Matt knew what he wanted to do: make an immediate, tangible difference.
“We wanted to be a catalyst in moving a project forward,” he says of him and his wife, Tara. “We wanted to support a project that wasn’t yet funded get in the ground.”
With the end of the Campaign nearing, RESOLVE Partner Calgary John Howard Society (CJHS) was in urgent need of funding to break ground before their development permit expired. Matt and Tara (through their Tamaratt Fund at the Calgary Foundation) decided to donate $500,000 to CJHS’s new Bedford House project — a gift that also unlocked government grants. They also gave an additional $73,000 to other RESOLVE projects.
The new Bedford House will provide 32 men with stable, affordable housing with support programs so they can reintegrate into the community after spending time in the justice system. It’s a crucial part of the community that keeps Calgarians safe by providing services to tenants that decrease the likelihood of reoffending – employment and educational programs, life skills, counselling, curfews, check-ins and more.
“It’s going to be a useful part of the community for a long time,” Matt says. “The key thing, for me, is that they will have a stable place where they can progress into society without falling backwards or falling back into homelessness.”
The new Bedford House broke ground in December 2017 and a formal celebration was held on March 15, 2018. The building is anticipated to be complete in May 2019.
“We’re happy to support this project, and an organization that has done great work in Calgary for a long time,” Matt says. “There’s a clear need for it in the community.”