Horizon Housing and Forward Housing to combine as new not-for-profit force for affordable housing in Calgary

NEWS RELEASE – July 27, 2022

Calgary – Horizon Housing and Forward Housing – two leading affordable housing not-for-profits with long histories and strong legacies of service in Calgary – today announced plans to merge in the fall.

The combination, which is rare in the sector, will create one of the largest and fastest-growing not-for-profits for affordable housing in the city.

The merger is motivated by both parties’ responsibility and desire to:

  • grow swiftly and efficiently to provide more affordable homes to Calgarians in need;
  • continue to improve the experience of current residents; and
  • provide a robust voice for housing affordability in the city.

Benefits of the merger

The new entity will draw upon a combined 90+ years of service to a wide range of Calgarians living with low and moderate incomes. The merger will:

  • reduce duplication and create economies of scale;
  • eliminate competition between the two organizations for future development opportunities and funding;
  • increase capability to provide affordable housing to Albertans in need;
  • amplify efforts by the Government of Alberta, The City of Calgary, and the federal government to work more effectively through the not-for-profit sector for the benefit of vulnerable citizens;
  • position the new organization to be in trendsetting alignment with municipal, provincial and federal affordable housing strategies; and
  • serve as an example to others that might consider consolidating for greater collective impact.

From Horizon Housing board chair, Bryan Romanesky

“We are inspired to merge with Forward Housing, because our missions are so strongly aligned, our strengths are so highly complementary, and our impact can be so much more powerful once unified.”

From Forward Housing board chair, Rob Bedin

“The combination with Horizon Housing is proof that with shared vision and careful consideration there can be breakthrough progress in our sector to find better ways to serve more people with greater effect.”

Some attributes of the new organization

Once merged, the combined entity will:

  • provide homes to over 2,000 Calgarians, including more than 500 independent seniors;
  • own and/or operate 30 buildings in neighbourhoods throughout the city;
  • be led by Martina Jileckova (Chief Executive Officer) and Gary McNamara (Chief Integration and Operating Officer);
  • employ approximately 50 employees; and
  • accelerate its plans to deliver more affordable housing, including for residents who need and benefit from the support of partner social-serving agencies.

Strategic and cultural alignment

The missions of the two organizations are nearly identical, as are their values, which will ease the combination process.

  • “Creating homes where everyone can thrive” (Forward) and “Providing affordable housing as a foundation for tomorrow” (Horizon).
  • The Horizon values are Care, Quality, Collaboration, Diversity of Thought and Leadership.
  • The Forward values are Service, Quality, Inclusion and Collaboration.

The essence of these will migrate smoothly to the combined organization.

Process to date and looking ahead

  • The decision to merge follows exhaustive due diligence by the two organizations.
  • This process culminated in approvals by both boards of directors in June.
  • The relationships created at a senior operational level, including the CEOs of the two organizations, during the due-diligence process are strong and unifying.
  • Integration efforts have already begun and will continue throughout the summer and fall.
  • Upon close of the transaction, the new entity will begin work to strike a new name and brand.

Horizon Housing contact:
Martina Jileckova, CEO
403-399-8575 martinaj@horizonhousing.ab.ca

Forward Housing contact:
Gary McNamara, CEO

Q & A

  1. Why are the two agencies merging?
    We want to: grow to provide more affordable homes to Calgarians in need; continue to improve the experience of current residents; and provide a strong voice for housing affordability in the city.
  2. What are the impacts on residents?
    Residents will see no changes to how to contact us or how to pay rent. Over time, the combined agency will continue to improve the experience for current residents and grow to provide more affordable housing for future residents.
  3. What are the impacts on my partner agencies?
    You should notice no negative differences in your dealings with your agencies. The combined organization will still value the strong relationship it has with partners. We look forward to growing and strengthening them.
  4. How big will the combined agency be?
    The combined agency will be one of the largest not-for-profit affordable housing providers in Calgary, with more than 2,000 Calgarians (including more than 500 independent seniors) living in 30 buildings throughout the city.
  5. What is the process to merge?
    When the merger is finalized in the fall, the new entity will start doing more detailed work to combine, including developing a new name.
  6. Will the combined agency be very different?
    The two organizations have nearly identical strategies and cultures, so the new combined agency will be very similar in its goals and ways of doing business. There will be greater ability to continue improving the experience for existing residents and to grow to provide more affordable housing to Calgarians.
  7. Where can I learn more or ask a question?
    You can go to www.horizonhousing.ab.ca to learn more and email info@horizonhousing.ab.ca to ask a question.