There is a long list of good, educated people who were brought up in Saskatchewan, but decided to leave for greener fields.
Teneille Bradley grew up in the Swift Current area but after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in sociology, took off for Australia.
Bradley earned her MBA from the Australian Institute of Business while working for non-profits there. Her working life in Australia included a management position with the Multicultural Center for Mental Health & Wellness, and general manager of operations for Access Community Services in Logan, Queensland.
After that rewarding his five-year position, Bradley decided the pull of family was too much to keep him Down Under any longer, and he moved to Calgary in 2019.
Her experience and interest in caring for others led her to accept a position here with Accessible Housing as director of programs, and in November of last year she was appointed as the non-profit organization’s executive director.
Accessible Housing Calgary begins as 4th Dimension in 1974, when it opened the city’s first shared living accommodation for 12 people with spinal cord injuries. Almost 50 years later, its mission remains the same. ‘We can’t always change circumstances, but we don’t have to be defined by them. We believe that everyone, despite their limitations, have the right to live in a safe home and be part of a supportive community.”
Over the years, it has accomplished much in helping people with limited mobility and disabilities, but there is still a lack of accessible and affordable housing that frustrates the organization and Albertans with disabilities. Bradley reports that a recent feasibility study found there are 50,000 Calgarians with limited mobility with an income below $40,000. And many more need support services. One of her key current challenges is finding sustainable funding for one of her core programs named RAD (Residential Accessible Design) Renovations.
The program was started in 1997 to help individuals with low income and mobility issues with accessibility renovations, allowing them to safely return or remain in their homes.
There is a growing need with the current challenges in the housing market and the increase of seniors wanting to age in place. Accessible Housing has an in-house team of design specialists who offer a variety of services, including site or home assessment, recommendation reports, quotes from qualified contractors, organizing and reviewing grant applications and project management.
This week is National Accessibility Week and Bradley is taking the opportunity to provide advocacy for the limited mobility community. Her goal is to reach new audiences and raise awareness that will help her organization find new funding partners.
On June 21, the organization is holding a RAD Renovations Accessibility Seminar in its Inclusion building at 1129 23rd Avenue NW to discuss how to make homes more accessible.
Inclusio is a fine example of Accessible Housing fulfilling its mission to open doors for people to live in the community with dignity through supportive living services.
Facing onto the Confederation Park, it offers 45 units for adults with limited mobility who require some assistance with activities of daily living, but also value autonomy and independence.
Inclusio is the first and only multi-residential building in Canada to receive the Rick Hansen Foundation Gold Certification Level for high standards of accessibility.
A third program, in association with the Calgary Homeless Foundation, is its outreach case management service helping to solve the most pressing need to help individuals find accommodation and jobs, and offer them mental and addiction support.
There is a lot on the plate for Bradley and his staff of 55; they deserve and need the funding to help them support so many people.
There seems to be a shortage of good retail spaces in the city. Michael Kehoe of Fairfield Commercial Real Estate says he is looking for a number of leases, including Krispy Kreme, the global donut chain that is Calgary bound and looking for a location to open a “doughnut theater,” where customers can observe the process as the sweet snacks travel along the 12-meter production line. Kehoe has also been retained to find locations for Bolder Men’s Wear, Baby & Me Maternity Boutique and Egg Club.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]