Cutting the ribbon for the official opening of the Hope Centre on December 17 are: left to right

Hope Centre holds its official opening

Affordable rental housing project came together through various partners

It’s been occupied and open for the past couple of months and on Wednesday, December 17, the Hope Centre held its official ribbon cutting.

The 25-unit development came together through the partnerships of government and community.

The M’akola Housing Society owns and operates the affordable rental housing component of the Hope Centre whine the Saint Vincent de Paul Society owns and operates the commercial part of the building, which includes the thrift store.

The opening was preceded by a blessing from Shirley Alphonse and representatives Chief Gordon Planes of the T’Sou-ke  First Nation and Russell Chipps from the Sc’ianew First Nation.

Speakers included: Roger Butcher, Vancouver Island Regional Director for BC Housing; District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait; Nils Jensen, Chair of the CRD and Mayor of Oak Bay; Angela Hudson, Executive Director , Society of Saint Vincent de Paul; and Kevin Albers, Chief Executive Office, M’akola Housing Society.

Nils Jensen probably encapsulated what everyone else was saying, “Housing affordability is a regional priority… it’s the people behind the scenes who made it happen. Perseverance, vision and dedication got us where we are today.”

There is a long list of partners who came together and they include:

• The Government of Canada $1.8 million through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, along with a $10,000 Seed grant;

• The B.C. government $1 million in grant funding and $781,897 in construction financing towards the residential capital costs;

• THE CRD Regional Housing Trust $375,000;

• Mis’kow’aao Development Society $375,000;

• Society of Saint Vincent de Paul provided land worth $370,500 and $1.2 million in long-term financing through a third party for the commercial construction;

• M’akola Housing Society and the SVDP $34,532;

• The District of Sooke waived approx. $80,000 in development cost charges.

“Having a safe and secure place to call home is the first step in ensuring all individuals, including youth, have the best possible opportunity to live up to their full potential… I’m very happy to hear that Hope Centre is already making a positive difference in the lives of people in Sooke,” said Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development.