Calgary children’s emergency shelter expands services with new location

A resource for Calgary families working through personal crises will soon have more shelter space to offer when parents reach out for help.

The Children’s Cottage Society broke ground on its brand new Child and Family Centre, located in the northwest community of Montgomery on Friday.

The new building, which is approximately 35,000 square feet, will be able to house about 1,900 babies and children each year while also offering supports to 8,850 children and families.

The space is sorely needed, the group says, as it admits there have been times where it hasn’t been able to keep up with demand because of a lack of space and resources.

In 2016, the society said it turned away 1,795 children while in 2019, that number increased to 1,915.

“We have been turning away children from our crisis centre in Bridgeland – about 1,900 children every year. The children who are coming to it because their parents are having a crisis or emergency that prevents them from taking care of them,” said Patty Kilgallon, CEO of the Children’s Cottage Society.

She says when the children are turned away, it puts them at risk of neglect and could result in them being hurt.

Kilgallon says the new building will also be able to cater to some of the vulnerable populations that their current location doesn’t have space for.

“We see many Indigenous children coming to us and we have never had the ability to have elders in our building to support those children and their parents. So now elders will have a space to be and we’ll have a ceremonial room as well.”

The facility, which includes a 20-bed crisis nursery, access to the Calgary West Family Resource Network, counselling services and a number of other programs, costs approximately $31 million.

So far, $15.2 million has been raised through grants from the provincial and municipal governments as well as community partners.

More information about the Children’s Cottage Society, including an opportunity to donate to pay for the facility’s costs, can be found online.

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