everyone deserves home

Beautiful New Beginnings at 210 Gorge Road

September 8, 2023

“Every story in this building is beautiful.”

That’s Steven Karlsson, Cool Aid’s manager of housing and shelters, talking about our newest mixed-use building at 210 Gorge Road.

“Let me tell you about just one resident,” he says.

“Before moving into 210 Gorge, a woman I’ll call Rosa was homeless for more than five years. She’d been living in a tent and was very stressed, always on high alert for her safety. When Rosa unlocked the door and walked into her new apartment for the first time, she burst into tears. She was finally home. Soon, she was
reconnecting with family and now her children can visit and stay overnight because it’s safe for them too.”

Steven has been homeless himself, so he can relate to many of the people who call 210 Gorge home. “Agencies like Cool Aid get you on a better path. Look where I am today,” he says.

Cool Aid’s newest apartment building features both affordable and supportive housing, with wheelchair-accessible units. Mental health care workers are on site 24 hours a day.

“People from very different backgrounds live here together. There is no stigma and everyone is respected,” Steven says.

The five-storey building is located in the Burnside Gorge community and now also features a coffee shop.

“Cool Aid believes in connecting people through health care, outreach, and housing. It’s a priority. The coffee shop is just another way to build that connection between tenants and the rest of the community,” adds Tracey Robertson, community engagement manager.

A new gardening partnership is also cultivating that sense of community. Last summer, Cool Aid made available several raised garden beds on the property to
neighbours. By July, you could spot tomatoes, beans, lettuce, and cucumbers practically spilling out of their boxes.

Tracey says, “People can grow their own food and get to know each other. This is a big deal for our residents, especially those who were homeless. They were often treated as ‘other’ and felt ostracized. Now they belong. They’re part of a community.”

Thank you for supporting our clients as they find sanctuary and begin to heal from homelessness and other challenges. Your generosity makes our neighbourhoods
safer and more vibrant. As you read this, another 233 affordable apartments are being developed.