“Who would have though that the answer to some of our most complex social problems would be business.” – Joseph MacLean, Project Lead – Affordable Housing Trust
A Sustainable Housing Model
The Skwachàys Lodge combined with the street level Urban Aboriginal Fair Trade Gallery use a Social Enterprise model to fund supportive housing. Instead of taxpayer dollars providing the ongoing monthly subsidy for 24 Aboriginal artist live/work studios the funds come from the operation of these two social purpose businesses. When a guest spends their overnight travel dollars at the Skwachàys there is a social impact – people are housed.
When a guest, a member of the community or a company purchases authentic Aboriginal art at the Fair Trade Gallery there is a social impact – employment and community economic growth.
This project has attracted international media attention and the long-term plan is to open a dozen more of these hotel/gallery projects across Canada. The profits from these successful enterprises are used to fund more sustainable housing solutions.
Definition: A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental wellbeing, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders.