Where can I find affordable emergency or short-term housing?

Affordable housing serves all kinds of people. Different people have different housing needs. No matter their background, affordable housing is meant to support people and provide them with the ability to thrive. There are many different affordable housing programs in Calgary, including emergency housing for people experiencing threatening or difficult life situations. This guide article focuses on shelters and short-term housing. Here are some other resources you can check out on affordable housing in Calgary:

Please note that this guide article will only cover a few programs in Calgary. For a full list, refer to the Affordable Housing Guide (pages 8-17 for emergency shelters, pages 19-30 for short-term housing).

Affordable Housing: Emergency Shelters

Emergency shelters are one type of emergency housing. Shelters are typically open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They provide safety, food, and beds for people and families fleeing serious circumstances such as abuse and homelessness. When you have nowhere else to go, emergency shelters are here to help.

Brenda’s House is run by the Children’s Cottage Society. The location is kept confidential, to protect those who stay there. Brenda’s House provides families with private rooms, healthy meals, 24 hour support, and child development programming.

Eligibility and Applying

All families who are experiencing homelessness are welcome. Families must have children below the age of 18.

To apply, call 403-424-8575.

Calgary Alpha House runs an emergency shelter for those are under the influence of, or in withdrawal from, alcohol and/or other substances. Shower and laundry facilities, food, clean needle kits, and support workers are available at the shelter.

Eligibility and Applying

Calgary Alpha House is available to those who are:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • under the influence of alcohol and/or some type of drug OR
  • have a history or identity of substance use 

You do not need to apply, simply visit the location at 203 – 15th Ave. S.E. Those seeking a detox bed should call the shelter (403-234-7388) or request an assessment in-person.

The Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre provides emergency services, case management, clothing, meals, shower facilities, and more. A full list of the Drop-In Centre’s support services and facilities can be found here.

Eligibility and Applying

All individuals over the age of 16 can apply. To apply, arrange for a meeting with a Drop-In staff member. You can call (403-266 – 3600), email (info@calgarydropin.ca) or visit in-person. The building is open 24 hours a day:

1 Dermot Baldwin Way SE
Calgary, Alberta T2G 0P8

The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is a residential facility for women fleeing domestic violence or living with the impacts of abuse. Services offered include shelter, food, clothing, crisis intervention, children’s programs, and referrals. The location of the shelter is kept confidential to protect its residents.

Eligibility and Applying

The shelter is available to women 18 years of age or older, with or without children, who are escaping domestic violence.

To apply, call the shelter for an assessment with a crisis counselor. The helpline is 403- 234-7233 and is open 24 hours a day.

Affordable Housing: Short-Term Housing

Short-term or transitional housing programs are for people who need help getting back on their feet. They might be victims of abuse, recovering addicts, or a family who has recently lost their home. Short-term emergency housing programs allow people and families to stay with them for a short period of time, usually around 12 months. During this time period, residents are provided with the support they need to transition to more stable/long-term accommodations.

The Alex is a short-term housing centre for individuals with complex health needs. The Alex provides 24 hour care and services that support psychiatric needs, addiction issues, and medical recovery.

Eligibility and Applying

The Alex is for individuals 18 years of age or older. The individual must have complex health needs (ex. physical and mental disabilities, addictions) and have been homeless for six months or longer.

To apply, call or visit SORCe to talk to a housing strategist about eligibility.

The Calgary Dream Centre offers a full-time addiction recovery program with both long-term and temporary housing. Clients receive aftercare, case management, counselling, and support.

Eligibility and Applying

To apply, you must be:

  • a male 18 years of age or older
  • supported through AISH or medical EI
  • be willing to stay clean and sober five days before admission 

The intake form can be found here. To set up an in-person intake interview, please call 403-243-5598 (ext. 231).

YW Calgary offers a variety of services and programs (both long-term and short-term) for at-risk women. You can access the full list here. YW Calgary is dedicated to helping women find safety and security while receiving support to overcome trauma, focus on healing, and develop economic stability. Options for shelter and housing available at YW Calgary can be found here.

Eligibility and Applying

YW Calgary services single women (with or without children) who are:

  • experiencing or at risk of homelessness
  • fleeing violence
  • experiencing challenges with mental wellness, addictions, or other barriers

To apply, call to schedule an appointment with an Intake and Assessment
co-ordinator (403-263-1550). To access the emergency shelter, call 403-705-0315.

CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Asantewa Nkuah for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.