Zurich commits funding to help house Calgary’s chronically homeless
Calgary, Alta. , September 12, 2016
CDN $1 million toward mortgage retirement for The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre apartment complex will build community resilience
Leading property and casualty insurance provider Zurich is demonstrating its commitment to building resilient communities by making a significant contribution to the Plan to End Homelessness in Calgary with a donation of CDN $1 million over three years to the RESOLVE Campaign.
Zurich Canada President and CEO Patrick Lundy made the announcement today during a panel discussion for media at the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Canada Conference, taking place September 11-14, at the Telus Convention Centre. The theme of the conference this year is Resilience, in honour of Calgary being named to the list of 100 Resilient Cities by the Rockefeller Foundation.
RESOLVE is a unique collaboration of nine partner agencies raising $120 million to build affordable and supported rental housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians. The community-based capital campaign is an important part of the Plan to End Homelessness in Calgary that began in 2008.
The donation will be funded by Zurich’s global charity, the Z Zurich Foundation. The goals of the RESOLVE Campaign strongly align with the Z Zurich Foundation’s mission to increase the social and/or economic strength of individuals or communities faced with poverty, disadvantages, physical or mental distress, said Lundy.
“At Zurich, we believe that ensuring cities have a sustainable supply of affordable housing, and thus helping to fulfill everyone in society’s basic need for shelter, can be a powerful contributor to building resiliency against economic and physical challenges,” he added.
Calgary’s Plan to End Homelessness employs the Housing First model of dealing with homelessness: increasing the amount of affordable housing in a community with the supports needed to help those housed overcome their challenges and live sustainable lives. A growing body of research shows the Housing First model is a faster, easier and less costly way to address underlying issues like mental health and unemployment than the “housing readiness” approach.
According to the RESOLVE Campaign, it costs the community $34,000 less per homeless person a year to provide housing with supports. The savings can come from a reduced need for use of healthcare, police, emergency services, the justice system and corrections. The Calgary Homeless Foundation notes that since the Plan to End Homelessness began in 2008, over 7,000 people have been housed with supports and homelessness in Calgary has been reduced by 17 percent.
Zurich’s donation will be directed to The Mustard Seed, one of the nine partner agencies in the RESOLVE Campaign. Zurich’s $1 million contribution over three years will help The Mustard Seed reach its RESOLVE goal of $12 million. The Mustard Seed currently has 244 affordable housing units available for men and women and plans to build up to 48 family units in the near future. The funds will go to retirement of the mortgage on The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre apartment complex.
“In addition to the donation, Zurich Canada employees will stay connected with the RESOLVE Campaign and work together to build the Mustard Seed’s capacity and help solve the issue of homelessness in Calgary,” said Lundy. Zurich Canada employees will have virtual skills-based volunteer opportunities to help build capacity in areas such as HR, IT, project management, and marketing and communications.
Stephen Wile, CEO of The Mustard Seed, said the donation would have a significant impact on the agency’s ability to provide sustainable affordable housing at the 1010 Centre apartment complex, which houses 224 low-income adults.
“This incredible donation from Zurich, through RESOLVE, is a huge step toward increasing resiliency among men and women experiencing poverty and homelessness,” said Wile. “A gift of this magnitude will not only benefit hundreds of men and women by providing them with homes of their own, it will also strengthen the community and move us that much closer to ending homelessness.”
Wile added, “We’re also excited to partner with Zurich to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities with The Mustard Seed, which will continue to build the resiliency of the people we help to transition out of homelessness and into a place independence and wellness.”
Director of Calgary Housing and President of Calgary Housing Company, Sarah Woodgate, who also took part in the panel discussion, said, “A healthy housing market that provides safe, appropriate housing options for all residents is a critical component of a resilient city.”
Alan Norris, President and CEO of Brookfield Residential Properties and Chair of the RESOLVE Campaign, had this to say:
“RESOLVE is a Calgary born concept and a Canadian first, with nine agencies raising money together for much needed affordable and supported housing. Zurich has brought worldwide attention to the RESOLVE model of collaboration and has chosen to support the Mustard Seed, an agency that has a long standing history in our city of providing a vital impact for Calgarians in need. Zurich’s gift is helping homeless and vulnerable Calgarians have a safe and affordable place to call home.”
“I am very excited that Zurich and Zurich Canada employees have this opportunity to play a direct role in the RESOLVE Campaign’s historic project, a project that could transform the way homelessness is managed in Canada,” said Lundy.
Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets through affiliates licensed appropriately in those jurisdictions. With more than 55,000 employees, it provides a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services where its affiliates are licensed to do so. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, including multinational corporations, in more than 170 countries. Zurich is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at www.zurich.com.
Zurich Insurance Company Ltd is licensed as a Canadian branch (Zurich Canada). Zurich Canada, Zurich is focused on developing general insurance solutions for medium and large corporations, Canadian-based multinationals, and other customers in the technology, transportation, public sector, real estate, construction, manufacturing and management industries. For more information about the products and services it offers, go to http://www.zurichcanada.com.
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