Ronell Bosman, Island Crisis Care Society Samaritan program director, poses by the entrance of Samaritan House. The society has begun a fundraising campaign, hoping to raise $2 million to expand the shelter. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Society raising money to add more room to Samaritan House

Island Crisis Care Society sets target of $2 million for expansion project

Island Crisis Care Society has high hopes as it embarks on a fundraiser to expand its Samaritan House emergency shelter for women.

The society launched its More Room for Hope campaign Feb. 24 and the goal is to raise $2 million.

The current house is more than 100 years old and the expansion will see a new building constructed and attached to the existing house. According to Violet Hayes, society executive director, it’s a single-family home, consisting of 14 shelter beds and six transitional suites. Space is at a premium and women have been turned away, Hayes said. Flexible space is sought.

“We have been flexible in the past with adding the transitional suites and changing the number of shelter beds as the needs are more. So the space that we’re going to add at the side, as we’ve bought the lot next door, is definitely space that we can change around as the needs change,” said Hayes. “We also want to be able to do a lot of life skills and training for the women, so that we’re helping them to be able to move forward and be self-sufficient.”

In December, the society was anticipating that numbers would go down due to cold-weather shelters opening, but Samaritan House had 112 per cent occupancy and had to turn women away 72 times, said Hayes.

“Three of those times were because the women had children and at this point, because of the cramped space and being a low-barrier shelter…” Hayes said. “We’re allowed to [take children] as per our contract with B.C. Housing, but because of the space, there’s not a separate place we can put the family. With the expansion, we would be able to accept women with children.”

Of the $2 million, $1.5 million is going toward new construction, $400,000 for renovations of the current site, $30,000 for new kitchens, $20,000 for an elevator, $20,000 for new furnishings and $30,000 for landscaping, according to the society.

As of Feb. 27, Hayes said the society has raised $36,827.

For more information, go to www.islandcrisiscaresociety.ca and click on the More Room for Hope tab.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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