T’Sou-ke spiritual advisor Shirley Alphonse

Centre will bring hope to many at risk

The Hope Centre held a ground-breaking ceremony and blessing at the site

It will be a centre of hope for low income and homeless Aboriginal youth and adults.

On Thursday, September 26, a contingent of funders, politicians and community service providers gathered across the street from the building site to figuratively turn the spade into the ground at the Hope Centre.

The building will house those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the 25-unit development in Sooke. The four-story development will have 18 studio units, seven one-bedroom apartments and commercial space on the ground level, which will include the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store as well as offices and educational facilities.

Before crossing the street to the site, T’Sou-ke elder and spiritual advisor Shirley Alphonse blessed the ground stating, “It’s a beautiful feeling to bless this ground.”

Kevin Albers, on behalf of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the M’akola Housing Society said they,“squeezed out every dollar possible for affordable housing.”

“When complete the apartment will provide a sense of hope,” said the Hon. Stephanie Cadieux said in her address to the gathered. She said she knew how challenging it can be for non-profits.

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne said he was a proud supporter for providing affordable hosting.

“It is only by funding partnerships like this that we can succeed. This is truly a partnership,” said Milne.

“The entire project is us thinking outside the box, the coalition to end homelessness was the start, this vision is a reality,” said Angela Hudson, executive director Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

A consortium of funding sources include:

The federal government – $1.8 million;

The B.C. government $1million and $781,897 in construction financing towards the affordable rental housing component;

The District of Sooke – $80,000 in-kind funding;

The CRD Regional Housing Trust – $375,000;

The M’akola Housing Society – $375,000;

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provided the land values at $370,500 and will provide over $1.2 million in long-term financing;

The M’akola Housing Society and Society of St. Vincent de Paul – $34,532.

The M’akola Housing society will own and operate the affordable rental housing component, while the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will own and operate the commercial aspect.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is a lay Catholic organization whose mission is to love the Gospel message, serving vulnerable at risk individuals through a variety of programming and other social services.

The M’akola Housing Society is a non-profit society dedicated to providing safe, affordable housing for families of First Nations ancestry on Vancouver Island.

Construction is expected to be complete by the fall of 2014.

 

editor@sookenewsmirror.com