Victoria Cool Aid Society | October 2013 - Victoria Cool Aid Society

Jellyfish Lounge Presents “Virtual Elvis” Benefit

The Jellyfish Lounge presents “Virtual Elvis” on Sunday, December 16 at 7 pm at 1140 Government . The King will be IN the building, helping to raise money for the Victoria Cool Aid Society and the less fortunate of our city during the holiday season.

Put on your best pair of Blue Suede Shoes and come check out one of North America’s most famous and sought-after impersonators! Proceeds from this event will benefit the homeless community, helping to make their Christmas a little brighter.

Tickets are only $25 and include some of Elvis’ must-have foods: miniature fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, southern baked wings, and jalapeno cornbread, to name a few (see full menu below)! Ticket also includes performance, an Elvis inspired menu and dancing!  Have your picture taken with Santa Elvis and a sexy Miss Claus!  A silent auction and $10.00 from every bottle of Elvis Presley Graceland Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon will be donated by the Jellyfish Lounge! So come on down and enjoy The King’s performance of Christmas carol classics, with our own DJ Bellyfish spinning later in the evening!

The Jellyfish Restaurant is located at 1140 Government (across from Earl’s). Please call 298.1194 to book now!

It’s Christmas with Elvis (Virtually)!


 

Are you hungry tonight?
Menu inspired by Elvis’ Favorite Recipes

  • Mini Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
  • BLT With Cheese Sandwiches
  • Southern Baked Chicken Wings
  • Baked bean & Pancetta Crostinis
  • Biscuits and Red Eye Gravy
  • Meat Loaf with Mushroom Gravy Crostini
  • Southern Jalapeno Cornbread
  • Butter Baked Sweet Potato and Yukon Golds
  • Mixed Raw Vegetable Tray
  • Pecan Pie
  • Banana Bread
  • Glazed Donuts
  • Short Bread Cookies


Jellyfish Lounge
1140 Government St.
Victoria, BC
Phone: 250.298.1194
Fax: 250-298-1195

What Can $500 or $5,000 Buy for the Homeless?

The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s mandate is to provide supported housing, holistic shelter, community health and dental services and other support to marginalized adults in the capital region area. Every year Cool Aid provides thousands of adults who are homeless and impoverished with emergency shelter beds, hot meals, health care and dental services. We also manage 257 housing units of supported housing, assisting some of the most vulnerable people in our community to maintain a home of their own.
It costs a lot of money— about $11.0 million in 2007 – but in the end, it saves taxpayer dollars. What could your donation do or contribute towards?


Just $500 Can…

  • Provide a hot meal for 275 homeless adults at Streetlink Emergency Shelter.
  • Shelter and feed six women for one day at Sandy Merriman House, and provide them with health care, counselling and other special services for the homeless, the battered, and women leaving the sex trade.
  • Print 2,000 emergency services cards with phone numbers, addresses and the hours when service providers can help.
  • Buy  200 pairs of warm socks for distribution at our shelters and Downtown Health Centre. Homeless people suffer from many foot diseases and discomforts, and a good pair of socks can make a big difference.
  • Provide 250 toothbrushes or 300 tubes of toothpaste through our Dental Clinic.
  • Pay for 570 bus tickets, which is a great deal, because Cool Aid gets them for half price. Bus tickets help the homeless and poor get to jobs, job interviews, medical appointments, groceries and other transportation needs.
  • Provide 180 “meal-replacement” drinks to the homeless, which are delicious and full of vitamins and minerals, and help many homeless people who suffer from low nutrition.
  • Provide a wheelchair for one of our buildings.

In other words, $500 can go a long ways towards helping end homeless. Every dollar counts.


What Could A $5,000 Contribution Buy?

Cool Aid’s mandate is to provide housing, community health and emergency shelter services to marginalized adults in the Victoria area. Every year Cool Aid provides thousands of homeless and impoverished adults with shelter beds, hot meals, health care and dental services. We manage 257 housing units of supported housing, assisting some of the most vulnerable people in our community to maintain a home of their own. We also provide life and job skills training.

It all costs a lot of money— about $11 million this year. What could your $5,000 donation do to help people today?

Your $5,000 Gift Can Make A Big Difference:

  • $5,000 will buy construction boots and bus tickets to enable 60 unemployed persons to accept construction jobs.
  • Provide high-quality knapsacks for 100 homeless persons.
  • Provide 400 hot, nutritious meals every day for a whole week at our Streetlink and Sandy Merriman House emergency shelters.
  • Buy 25 bicycles for marginalized Victorians.
  • Purchase 2,000 pairs of nice, warm socks for distribution at our shelters and Downtown Community Health Centre. Homeless people suffer from many foot diseases and discomforts, and a good pair of socks can make a big difference.
  • Pay the salary and benefits for a street outreach nurse for one month.

In other words, $5,000 can help make a big difference in people’s lives today. If you would like your donation to be spent on one of these items, or if you have another idea, let us know how you would like your contribution to be spent.

Run/Walk for the Homeless 2007

PacificSport Victoria logoWhat a huge success! Thank you to several hundred participants and the fast organizational efforts of the National Triathlon Centre and PacificSport, who together raised over $2,700 in addition to nine large “garbage bags” filled with warm clothing, and several dozen grocery bags filled with non-perishable foods. This more than doubles what was raised last year in the first-ever Run/Walk for the Homeless and makes a wonderful gift for those in Cool Aid shelters and housing. Thanks especially to Stephen Kilshaw, Scott Dagnall,  Kristy Franzen and the good folks at the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance for their stellar efforts.

National Triathlon Centre logo


The National Triathalon Centre in conjunction with PacificSport is sponsoring the Run or Walk for the Homeless on Sunday, December 16th, 2007 @ 9 am at Beaver Lake, Lower Parking Lot. 1K, 3K, 5K and 10 kilometre courses are available and everybody is welcome to this family, fundraising event. All proceeds go to the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Donations can be made online and apledge form is also available online or at your nearest recreation centre or running shoes store. More Information can be found at ntcrunwalk.blogspot.com.

Registration starts at 9 am and the Run/Walk begins at 10 am.

Volunteers who want to help with registration and parking please arrive at 8 am.

Mark your calenders. It will be a great event, with lots of awesome food, music, and good times had by all.

ACCESS Health Centre Receives $1.545 Million

ACCESS Health Centre logo

Thanks to recent, very generous funding announcements from the Vancouver Island Health Authority ($1 million) and the Capital Regional District ($545,000) the ACCESS Health Centre may now be opened before the close of 2008.

 

A partnership to improve inner city and community health in the Capital Region

Imagine an innovative initiative that could improve the health of the Capital Region’s most impoverished citizens, improve the quality of life for everyone downtown, and save taxpayer dollars. The ACCESS Health Centre, with a powerful synergy of agency and government primary health care and social support providers, will achieve all of these goals with just a modest capital investment by government, non-profit and philanthropic partners. ACCESS will provide integrated health and social services where “every door is the right door” and patients will be helped by a variety of professionals and organizations. ACCESS will provide many of the critical health supports that marginalized people need to maintain housing and integrate more into society, and improve the health of those who remain homeless.

ACCESS – Improved Health Care – System Savings

Complex health and social problems, including mental health and addiction issues, and high rates of drug use (higher per capita than Vancouver), have significant, direct negative impacts on every citizen and business in our Capital’s downtown and impose an unnecessarily high cost on the entire Capital Region’s health care system and quality of life.

While there is a growing recognition of the need to increase the affordable housing stock for homeless and very low-income persons, access to primary health care for the region’s most marginalized citizens is also inadequate – resulting in unnecessary demands on more expensive
emergency hospital services, hospital beds, and secondary and tertiary health care. Health supports are critical for individuals and families who are marginalized to maintain housing.

The ACCESS Health Centre is a visionary initiative to locate a wide variety of primary health care and social services in a single building in downtown Victoria. It is an innovative partnership that combines the energy of Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre, AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI), VIHA, the Native Friendship Centre, Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance and other service providers.

It will focus on Victoria’s inner city and marginalized populations – primarily the homeless, mentally ill, alcohol and drug-addicted, very poor and the brain injured. Many of these patients have concurrent illnesses and carry infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and carry the MRSA bacterium. A significant number of these patients are especially difficult to manage (disruptive) in a hospital setting and difficult to discharge because of limited access to support in the community.

We still need to raise nearly $2.0 million more to pay for the extensive reconstruction needed for our downtown, three-storey health and social services building on Johnson Street. Feel free to contact Cool Aid for more information or to make a donation.

You or your organization can also make a secure donation online and receive an immediate tax receipt by clicking on the button below:

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!\

Coast Capital Supports Cool Aid Labour Pool

In November 2006, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union provided the Community Casual Labour Pool with funding totaling $6,450. These funds were provided to assist workers in the Labour Pool secure work boots and bus tickets in order to attend job placements they would otherwise be unable to fill.

Active Image

30 Cent Players Comedy Show to Benefit Cool Aid

Sample ImageThe 30 Cent Players, Victoria’s notorious comedy troupe, will stage 30 90 LIVE! –  3rd Anniversary Edition, a performance at 8 pm on Friday, February 1, 2008 to benefit the Victoria Cool Aid Society. (Doors open at 7:30 at the Downtown Community Activity Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue.) The show will be hosted by Shaw TV personality Dan Kahan, as well as feature musical guest Atomic Vaudeville’s Slut Revolver.  There will be other surprise special guests as well, and this show marks the troupe’s 3rd anniversary on the local comedy scene.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Alan Ford
The 30 Cent Players
250-592-5411
alanford@telus.net
www.30CentPlayers.com

 

Victoria’s Cool Aid Society to Benefit from 30 Cent Players Show

Helping out The 30 Cent Players in promoting this evening of entertainment is local radio station The Zone @ 91.3 FM.  The station has offered over $4,000 of on-air promotional support, as well as surrendering one of their Zone DJ’s to participate in one of the troupe’s sketches!  Which Zone personality it will be is anyone’s guess – but it’s sure to provide hilarious results!

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is involved in numerous local programs, helping people find affordable housing as well as providing community medical and dental care to those who live in poverty.  The society also assists individuals in building life skills and provides job training.

Mike Vardy, one of the founders of The 30 Cent Players, spoke of tradition.  “Every year, we like to donate the proceeds of our anniversary show to a charity”, he said.  “Last year we donated to an orphanage in Africa – and we did quite well for them.  This year we thought we’d like to give to a local organization.”  Vardy says that The Victoria Cool Aid Society seemed a perfect fit, and The 30 Cent Players are happy to be working with them towards making life better for Victoria’s people in need.

Vardy explains that The 30 Cent Players 3rd Anniversary Show is also a celebration.  “A bunch of us got together in late 2004 and decided to put on a little comedy show.”  Fast forward three years and over 100 performances, and The 30 Cent Players are still going strong with no signs of slowing down.  “We’ve been extremely fortunate to have the success we have had.”

The 30 Cent Players’ 30 90 LIVE! –  3rd Anniversary Edition runs Friday, February 1, 2008 at The Downtown Activity Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue.  Tickets are $10, and are available in advance online at  www.gigtickets.ca , directly via email at tickets@30centplayers.com, at Lyle’s Place* (770 Yates Street) or at the door**.  There is also a $5 admission price for students and low income individuals.  All attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for donation as well.

About The 30 Cent Players

The 30 Cent Players perform locally every two months with their show dubbed “30 90 LIVE!”, a variety show featuring their brand of live and filmed sketch comedy, as well as special guest performances.  They have also been selected to perform at several sketch comedy festivals, including Vancouver Sketchfest, Calgary’s Funnyfest, Montreal SketchFest, DC ComedyFest and San Francisco Sketchfest –  where they were the opening act for former Kid In The Hall Bruce McCulloch.

The troupe have been profiled on CBC Radio One’s So You Think You’re Funny, and their video sketches are currently being featured, and drawing attention, on Montreal’s Just For Laughs webpage.  One of their video sketches, “Girls Gone Mild” was selected for the short-lived program Online Nation, which aired on American television network The CW in the fall of 2007.


*Tickets purchased at Lyle’s Place are subject to a $1 service charge.
**Cash only at the door

Cool Aid Shelter and Housing Programs to Expand

News Release – For Immediate Release: January 22, 2008

Ministry of Forests and Range and Minister responsible for Housing and City of Victoria

New Supportive Housing for Victoria’s Homeless

Victoria – The Province and the City of Victoria have agreed to expedite more than 170 new and upgraded housing units to reduce homelessness, including the relocation and expansion of the Streetlink emergency shelter, Minister responsible for Housing Rich Coleman and Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe announced today.

“By funding predevelopment costs, such as architect plans and building consultants, the Province is ensuring construction begins as soon as possible,” said Coleman. “The City is committing land, and designating an employee to the approval process. Our partnership is taking care of costs and procedures usually borne by the developer, and by doing so, we are fast-tracking the building of these
homes.”

“Victoria has strong community consensus on homelessness, as reflected by the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force report released in October. The people of Victoria recognize that housing the homeless and providing support services where they can be accessed by our most vulnerable citizens is a priority,” said Lowe. “The City of Victoria will do all it can to ensure that work can get underway quickly on these sites.”

The Province and the City have signed a memorandum of understanding that will lead to the housing units being established at three locations. Fifty-five existing shelter beds at Streetlink will be relocated to a city-owned property at 535 Ellice St., on which a new development will provide 80 shelter beds. The site will also have approximately 24 new supportive housing units. Streetlink’s current site at 1634 Store St. will be redeveloped into 15 new supportive housing units, expanding on the existing 26 units at the adjoining Swift House. In addition, a provincially owned social housing site at 950 Humboldt St. will be redeveloped with an anticipated 53 new supportive housing units.

“Every day, we work with the individuals and face the reality that homelessness is one of Victoria’s most urgent and complex challenges,” said Kathy Stinson, executive director of Victoria Cool Aid Society, the operator of both the Ellice Street and Streetlink/Swift House sites. “We’ve outgrown our current Streetlink location. This proposal will help us with our mission of eliminating homelessness by expanding our ability both to provide shelter and reach out with supportive services.”

“Providing shelter for the homeless and supportive services to transition people from the streets into affordable housing makes our streets and our neighbourhoods safer,” said Darlene Hollstein, chair of the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA). “The DVBA, which represents approximately 1,800 property and business owners, fully supports the recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force in the areas of housing, mental health, and addictions.”

The provincial contribution to pay for predevelopment costs is part of a $41-million commitment to help break the cycle of homelessness that was announced on Oct. 12, 2007. It builds on the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC, announced in October 2006. The Province has allocated $360 million this year towards shelters and affordable housing.

Public consultation will occur consistent with the City’s established policies and practices for development permit applications and rezoning, with the objective of commencing construction on the Humboldt and Ellice St. sites by the end of 2008. The redevelopment of the Streetlink site will begin in 2010, following completion of the Ellice St. development.

The memorandum of understanding is available at:

www.bchousing.org/programs/homelessness/municipal_approvals

-30-

Media contacts:

Patricia Morrison, BC Housing
604 456-8895 or 604 314-1458

Katie Josephson, City of Victoria
250 361-0210 or 250 217-8343

John Crean, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250 383-1977

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca .


Backgrounder

January 22, 2008

Ministry of Forests and Range and Minister responsible for Housing and City of Victoria

New Housing for Homeless in Victoria Memorandum

he memorandum of understanding between the Province and the City of Victoria commits to building
over 170 units of new and upgraded social and supportive housing in Victoria. The new housing
developments will be created on three sites: Humboldt Street, Ellice Street and the Streetlink/Swift
House site on Store Street.

Humboldt Street

  • Located at 950 Humboldt Street, this provincially owned development currently provides 14
    units of social housing.
  • Built in the 1950s, this development is outdated and costly to maintain. These older buildings
    are located on under-utilized land, zoned for higher density within the Humboldt Valley
    Precinct Neighbourhood Plan. The current zoning allows for the redevelopment.
  • Redevelopment will provide approximately 53 self-contained studio and one-bedroom units of
    supportive housing with space for support services.
  • Current tenants will be relocated to other suitable subsidized housing options.
  • The Province will issue a proposal call to select a non-profit society to operate the development and will lease the site to the successful proponent for a nominal fee for a period of 60 years.
  • The City will continue to exempt the site from property taxes as long as it continues to provide
    housing and services for people who would otherwise be homeless.
  • The building will be designed to LEED Gold Certification or equivalent standards.

Ellice Street

  • Located at 535 Ellice Street, this city-owned site is currently under-utilized park space in a
  • light-industrial area. A removal of the parks designation, a rezoning and an amendment to the
  • Official Community Plan will be required for this project to proceed.
  • New construction will provide about 80 shelter beds, 24 self-contained supportive housing
  • units, plus space for support and transition services which can be converted into an additional
  • 20 temporary beds for extreme weather conditions.
  • Under the Provincial Emergency Shelter Program, Ellice Street will provide gateway services
  • to facilitate the movement of homeless persons to permanent housing, support services and
  • where possible, employment.
  • The building will be designed so it can be converted over time into permanent, supportive
  • housing.
  • Victoria Cool Aid Society (VCAS) will be the non-profit operator.
  • The City will lease the site to VCAS for nominal fee for a period of 60 years.
  • The City will exempt the operation from property taxes as long as it continues to provide
  • housing and support services for people who would otherwise be homeless.
  • The building will be designed to LEED Gold Certification or equivalent standards.

Streetlink/Swift House

  • Located at 1634 Store Street, this downtown Victoria emergency shelter, originally built for 55
    beds, currently offers up to 95 beds during cold weather periods.
  • The conversion will provide approximately 15 new supportive housing units expanding on 26
    adjoining units at Swift House, located at 469 Swift Street.
  • Streetlink will remain open as a shelter until the completion of the new Ellice Street site.
  • VCAS will continue as the non-profit operator after the conversion.
  • The City will continue to exempt the site from property taxes as long as it continues to provide
    housing and services for people who would otherwise be homeless.

Process

  • The memorandum of understanding is signed by the Province and the City.
  • The Province will pay all costs to design the housing, through to the issuance of development
    and building permits, including consultant fees and disbursements for the three sites.
  • The Province will arrange all capital and operating funding.
  • The City will make land available for redevelopment.
  • The City will designate a staff member to ensure the municipal approval process is expedited.
  • The City will meet the costs of all development permit fees, development cost charges and
    other municipal fees and charges for these projects.

Victoria Cool Aid Society

Since 1968, the Victoria Cool Aid Society has provided a wide range of programs including supported
housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool, for those who need it most. Cool Aid is well known for their work in addressing issues related to housing, such as accessibility, affordability, alternative housing programs and homelessness. They are an active participant in a variety of regional, provincial and national networks and organizations which work together to improve services, maximize effectiveness and influence policy.

Soles for Streetlink and Food for the Soul

Victoria – A convoy of Kabuki Kabs carrying $40,000 worth of donated running shoes and socks for Victorians who are homeless will wind its way from the New Balance store, 1205 Government at View Street, to the Streetlink emergency shelter on Store Street at Swift, this Thursday, February 7 @ 10 am.

The Kabs will be filled with 226 pairs of shoes donated by New Balance and Frontrunner Footwear customers (lightly used), 309 brand new pairs of quality runners from New Balance Victoria and Canada, 194 pairs of socks, and a cheque of $552 for The Mustard Seed. (New Balance and Frontrunner have also provided Cool Aid’s shelter program with about 50 pairs of new shoes every month for several years.)

The Kabukis will be peddled by:

  • Rob Reid, Owner, New Balance Victoria and Frontrunners Footwear
  • Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters, Victoria Cool Aid Society
  • Jack Knox, Columnist, Times Colonist

The “caravan of concern” will travel north on Government, west on Yates, north at the “whale wall” park along Wharf, and past the Johnson Street bridge to the Streetlink emergency shelter, 1634 Store Street @ Swift. Agenda:

10 am – news conference at New Balance, cheque presentation to Mustard Seed
10:30 – Kabuki Kabs leave New Balance for Streetlink Shelter
10:45 – Donated shoes and socks are carried into Streetlink

Reporters will have an opportunity to interview participants at the New Balance store
and take photos anywhere along the convoy route and at the Streetlink shelter.

 – 30 –

Information

Rob Reid, Owner, New Balance Victoria and Frontrunners Footwear
216-2305, newbalancevictoria.com

Don McTavish or Kathy Stinson, Victoria Cool Aid Society
383-1977, www.CoolAid.org

Chris Riddell, Pastor and Administrator, The Mustard Seed
953-1575, www.mustardseed.ca

Greater Victoria Commission to End Homelessness Announced

City of Victoria – News Release – A new regional commission to spearhead implementation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness action plan to house 1,550 homeless in Greater Victoria over five years was announced by co-chairs Mayor Alan Lowe and the Province’s former Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Ted Hughes. The Greater Victoria Commission to End Homelessness will drive the community’s commitment to meet action plan targets and develop additional strategies to end homelessness.

The Commission will foster collaboration and coordination among funding agencies, governments, service providers and key stakeholders including the faith, Aboriginal and business community.

“This organization may be the most important piece of the puzzle in terms of bringing resources and commitment together on our region’s most pressing issue,” noted Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe. “The Greater Victoria Commission to End Homelessness will transform how we work towards one shared goal, to end homelessness in our Region.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have the experience and passion, not to mention the integrity, honourable Ted Hughes brings to this venture as my co-chair,” added Mayor Lowe. “Ted is a long-time advocate for the rights of children and the Aboriginal community, and will be an esteemed partner on this journey we are about to embark on.”

“I am honoured to be a part of this exciting movement underway in Victoria. There is no greater work one can do, than to invest in the community they live in and feel passionate about,” said Ted Hughes. “The strength of the community has got us to this point and the ongoing commitment of the community will see us succeed.”

The first community in British Columbia to do so, Victoria joins Calgary and Ottawa, and over 300 cities in the United States that have created community commissions to implement long term plans to end homelessness.

A delegation of representatives from Victoria recently visited Portland, Oregon to learn about the success they are seeing in the first three years of their 10-year plan.

The Downtown Victoria Business Association will contribute $100,000 to the Commission to assist in creating new programs to help homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless.

“I want to ensure that we are a part of the solution and as business leaders and partners with the City we need to address the street issues that are affecting our businesses and our region at large,” noted Darlene Hollstein, Chair of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. “The Downtown Victoria Business Association is making a plea to other business groups in our community to step forward and be a part of the solution and likewise commit much needed funds towards making this vision to end homelessness a reality.”

Both the Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Capital Regional District (CRD) will also contribute $150,000 each to support the work of the Commission.

“I am delighted to see our work to address homelessness in 2007 has grown into a broad community commitment,” added CRD Chair, Denise Blackwell. “This issue affects our whole region, and I am proud that, as the regional government, the CRD is contributing both financially and through the energy of staff and Board of Directors to help find solutions to this challenge facing Greater Victoria.”

Since the Mayor’s Task Force report released in October, progress has been made in several key areas:

BC Housing and the City of Victoria announced an expedited plan to introduce more than 170 new and upgraded housing units to reduce homelessness, including the relocation and expansion of the Streetlink emergency shelter.

The first of four outreach teams to be funded by Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team, initiated by the Victoria Police department, hit the streets in January to engage people who have significant mental illnesses or addictions, who do not have access to permanent housing, and who have had little or no involvement with the mental health system.

The First 50 Committee, established in early December, has been actively working to find units to house 50 people by March 1, 2008. In partnership with the Housing Acton Team, made up of nine different agencies including VIHA, BC Housing, Downtown Service Providers, the CRD, and a dedicated group of realtors, developers and business owners, over 100 potential new units have been identified in the past six weeks, and housing providers have found units for 65 people since October.

“I have been doing this work for years in Victoria, and I have never seen a community rally behind a cause in the way Victoria has responded to the Mayor’s Task Force action plan,” said Reverend Al Tysick, from the Our Place Society and Chair of the Downtown Service Providers. “Our community is on a roll and this Commission is the key piece to keeping the right people and the money focused on this issue. We’re on the cusp of something great here.”

Real Estate Foundation Supports Cool Aid Housing

Active ImageThe Victoria Cool Aid Society has been providing shelter and support services for thehomeless and hard-to-house since 1968. Through a second mortgage (repaid) and grants the Real Estate Foundation of BC has played an important role in the construction of two of Cool Aid’s ten buildings since 1999. Foundation-supported Mike Gidora Place provides 45 supported housing units in downtown Victoria and Johnson Manor is home to 20 difficult-to-house individuals. The Victoria Real Estate Board and its members have also been involved with Cool Aid and now work jointly on numerous housing-related committees in the Capital Region.

[Reproduced with permission from RI input, Winter 2008 – the periodical of The Real Estate Institute.]

Anglicans and Lutherans Act Against Homelessness

News Release – March 3, 2008 – The Anglican Primate and the Evangelical Lutheran National Bishop call on the members of their respective churches to advocate for affordable housing solutions for the homeless with letters and visits to their Members of Parliament.

In a letter sent to the Minister of Human Resources and Development Canada,  Monte Solberg, on Feb 27, 2008, the leaders urged the government “to address homelessness in Canada as part of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.”

The letter follows the tabling of the federal budget which left the estimated 150,000 to 300,000 homeless people in Canada out in the cold, and another 1.5 million Canadians in desperate housing need without relief.

The joint Anglican-Lutheran initiative takes inspiration from the prophet Isaiah who asks what true religious observance is: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house?” (Isaiah 58:7).

“Our vision,” the leaders’ letter concludes, “is to go beyond the prophet’s call, to create a society where the hungry are able to eat their own bread, and the homeless poor are brought into their own house.”

“Being in full communion means more than worshipping together,” says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Anglican Primate. “Members of both our churches give generously of their time and money to help people who are homeless. They run thrift shops, food banks, overnight shelters, and hospitality programs. But they know that charity isn’t enough. Advocating together for justice is also part of being in full communion.”

“I’m so excited by this initiative,” says ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson. “It demonstrates how working together in full communion we can make a much larger impact and a stronger witness, hopefully inspiring our government to address the realities of homelessness in Canada.”

The joint initiative is modelled after a campaign of the diocese of Toronto encouraging Anglicans to visit their local MPs to express concerns about housing and poverty.

Hiltz and Johnson are inviting Lutherans and Anglicans to write or visit their federal MP, and where possible, to do this jointly. The purpose is to ask the Government of Canada to:

  • Renew and increase the affordable housing funding which is set to expire at the end of 2008
  • Join with the provinces to develop a comprehensive housing strategy as part of an overall national poverty reduction strategy

On line resources are available to help people participate in this initiative:

  • “Bringing people who are homeless into their own house” – a resource that explains this initiative and gives tips for writing and visiting with your MP.
  • A bulletin insert for use in church bulletins, encouraging congregations and parishes to become involved.
  • A copy of the joint letter from The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and The Reverend Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Monte Solberg.

Download the resources here: http://www.anglican.ca/rd/homeless.htm

For more information, contact:

Trina Gallop
Manager of Communications
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
888.786.6707 ext 172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Maylanne Maybee
Coordinator of Ecojustice Networks
The Anglican Church of Canada
416.924.9199 ext 219
mmaybee@national.anglican.ca

Cool Aid’s 40th Anniversary Activities

The goal of the 40th Anniversary projects are to celebrate Cool Aid’s successes past, present and future in order to educate the public, raise the visibility of our diverse programs, and to connect old friends and colleagues. Two main activities will be pursued during 2008 which are described below. A short history of Cool Aid is also available on the web site.

    1. Creation of a short, documentary video celebrating Cool Aid’s 40-year history.
    2. Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival & 40th Reunion was held on Saturday, August 16 in Victoria. See our Gallery of wonderful photographs from the Arts Festival .

 

 


Short, Documentary Film about Cool Aid’s History & Philosophy

A historically-focused, 28-minute documentary about Cool Aid people, services and buildings was created this year. The video will be aired on Shaw television, shown at Cool Aid presentations, and is online for web broadcast. Several versions will be produced, i.e. 28-minute video, 30-second public service announcement, 3-minute webcast, plus supporting print and web articles, and many large, historic posters. The premiere screening will be in the last quarter of 2009. Stay tuned.

If you have any Cool Aid memorabilia, such as photos, film or a story to share, please contact Cool Aid (250-383-1977). Historical submissions are also be welcomed online.


Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival and 40th Reunion

 

full program including musician and artist bios, and a map of Centennial Square is now available online.

The summer, outdoor 40th Reunion and community Arts Festival included free food and a music and arts component highlighting “Cool Aid Culture”, the creative works of our present and past clients, staff and supporters. About 2,000 members of the public enjoyed the music, visual arts, crafts, spoken word, poetry, dance, theatre, comedy, performance art and other creative arts of those who have been associated with Cool Aid over the last 40 years. The free event was held downtown at Victoria City Hall’s Centennial Square from 1 pm to 7 pm, on Saturday, August 16 and many beautiful photographs are available on the site commemorating the celebration.

The Arts Pavilion is housing the creative works of over 20

artists that are sure to dazzle you with their eclectic selection of creative works. Medias ranging from photography to chainmail, pen & ink to native beadwork, Visitors are sure to be enchanted, and inspired to purchase a little something for themselves. Artist demonstrations will also be taking place at various places in the square, to enjoy while you wander about. This will include soap stone carving, pine needle basketry, and acrylic painting.

The Main Stage features a wide range of performance acts and musical genre, wooing your senses with its mix of blues, folk, cabaret, spoken word and more. This assortment will entertain and envelope your senses with a rich experience in Cool Aid Culture.

“Doggy Idol” hosted by Citizen Canine will tickle your funny bone and offers doggy lovers the chance to show off their pooch.

“Cool Kids Paint & Play” is where children can work together painting their own large, cardboard supported housing building, emergency shelter and ACCESS Health Centre or make a drawing of their own choosing. Face painti

ng is another option for children.

So wander the square and enjoy, as we celebrate our past and look forward to our future… Together we will end homelessness.

Spread the word. Call our office for posters (250-590-1931) or click on the poster image for a poster you can print yourself and put in your office, neighbourhod, community centre, etc.

 

 

 

Click on Centennial Square map to get a high resolution image suitable for printing. Also available in Victoria News group supplements.


Cool Aid’s Many Partners

No organization can provide wide-ranging services to a community for 40 years without a tremendous amount of help from other organizations, businesses, funders and individuals. Please visit Cool Aid’s partner page to learn more about those who are helping us and the homeless and vulnerable today.

Our 40th Anniversary projects also depend upon the generosity of others in the community including the Government of Canada, Black Press, Shaw Cablesystems, the City of Victoria and many others.

 


Contact Information

For more information contact our 40th Anniversary project office .

www.CoolAid.org/40 

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

A Brief History of Cool Aid

40 Years of Vital Community Services

Active ImageThe Victoria Cool Aid Society traces its origins to June 10th, 1968, when “Cool Aid” was officially founded to provide emergency shelter for transient youth travelling the country. On August 18th, 1970, the “Cool Aid Free Medical Clinic ” opened its doors. On July 29th, 1971, the “Cool Aid Youth Hostel” opened. On May 3rd, 1972, the “Fernwood Dental Clinic” began operation. On October 28th, 1976, Cool Aid was incorporated as the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

>>> Read the complete history of Cool Aid, 1968-2008 (10 Mb PDF). See historic photos . <<<

Throughout the 1980s, Cool Aid grew as one of British Columbia’s largest non-profit organizations. Today, the society operates a diverse range of housing, social and health services for those in our community who are most vulnerable. The Victoria Cool Aid Society works to eliminate homelessness by advocating for and providing clients with supported housing, emergency shelter, and integrated health and life skill services – and has been doing so since 1968. Cool Aid’s 40th Anniversary activities are described elsewhere on the web site.

This story provided courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria and hosted on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

 

A Growing Commitment to Housing

There was a time when the homeless, poor, ill and addicted people returned again and again to emergency shelters in the city – they simply had nowhere else to go. Affordable housing in the 1980s was drying up and large mental institutions were shutting down, leaving people with little support for getting off the street. Shelter workers were frustrated to see the cycles of homelessness unbroken, and the homeless themselves were trapped in an eviction cycle from whatever, often substandard, housing they could find.

Cool Aid’s Housing Program is specifically designed for the hard-to-house homeless population in our community. It demonstrates the success of how a supported, independent living, social housing, not-for-profit model can provide a very cost-effective solution to the crisis of homelessness in Canada.

The housing program began approximately 18 years ago with the opening of Swift House, and now includes the Pandora Apartments, Mike Gidora Place, Johnson Manor, FairWay Woods, Desmond House, Cedar Grove and Hillside Terrace. In addition, we are in the process of developing new housing initiatives, and educating the community about issues related to homelessness. All of our tenants have been either homeless, or homeless-at-risk, and all manage issues related to mental health and addictions.

Swift House was designed specifically for the hard-tohouse, and it was the first supported independent-living project of its kind in Canada. It opened in 1991, and provides 26 subsidized apartments with resident support workers. The project soon developed into a tenant-involved community. Residents set up a social space, became involved in decision-making, and took on caretaking duties of their building.

The Pandora Project was our next development, and it incorporated feedback from many of the Swift House tenants. It is comprised of the Pandora Apartments, the Downtown Community Activity Centre (DCAC), and the YM/YWCA Youth Apartments. The Pandora Apartments opened in 1997, and provides 32 supported independent living suites. Resident support workers facilitate tenant-run newsletters, in-house choir groups, community kitchens, art therapy sessions, regular shopping expeditions, camping trips and work searches.

The Acitivity Centre opened in 1997, and plays a key role in allowing residents of all our housing projects and other downtown community members a chance to build friendships, have access to recreational facilities. The downtown Centre is available for rentals, which offers a mid-size gymnasium, a non-commercial kitchen, and an outdoor courtyard.

In 1998, the YM/YWCA opened eight units of transitional youth housing geared toward teaching life skills and good tenancy skills to youth aged 15 to 19. Each youth, with the help of their counsellor, developed a plan to enhance their independence, self-esteem and quality of life within a community-oriented living environment.

Mike Gidora Place was named in memory of Cool Aid’s former financial administrator Mike Gidora. It opened in 2000, and provides 45 subsidized independent living apartments. Mike Gidora is also the site for the REES Network and the Community Casual Labour Pool.

Johnson Manor was built on the success of Swift House and the Pandora Apartments. It is designed for tenants who have had the most difficulty in maintaining safe, affordable housing. It opened in 2001, and provides 24-hour on-site support for 20 residents. It has proven to be a cost-effective model for dealing with individuals managing mental health and poly-substance use issues.

FairWay Woods opened in 2003, and provides 32 units of supportive housing for seniors with special needs who are homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless in Langford. It is close to bus service, parks, walkways, and has easy accessibility to stores and restaurants. Staff members provide 24-hour on-site support for the residents. Dinner is provided each day in the dining room, and gives residents an opportunity to build friendships with one another.

Hillside Terrace is our newest housing project. It opened in 2005, and co-located with the Aberdeen Seniors Centre. Hillside Terrace provides 45 subsidized, wheelchair accessible, one-bedroom apartments to seniors who have difficulty fitting into regular housing situations and need a higher level of care. The Vancouver Island Health Authority provides personal care and Cool Aid the housing infrastructure plus community development within the building.

This story hosted on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

Chamber Supports Ellice Street Shelter and Housing

Active Image

Chamber News – June 4, 2008 – The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is concerned that there is significant risk to the proposal to build a shelter and supportive housing facility on Ellice Street. The funding to build and operate the facility is already committed by the provincial government. Building the facility would also allow the downtown Streetlink location to be converted to additional supportive housing.

A move is underway from the community association to inhibit the removal of the under-utilized park from park zoning so that the land could be used to build the facility. In the end, should this proposal for building more housing for the homeless not get city approval, it will represent a significant set-back in efforts of the larger community to make positive headway on this issue. We encourage our members to let your municipal councillors know that housing the homeless, in all areas of our community, is important to the overall well-being of the entire city.

 


City plan for park satisfies various needs

Active Image

June 10, 2008
Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
Victoria Cool Aid Society

If you want a safe and secure park for the residents of Burnside-Gorge, and if you want to alleviate the issues of homelessness in the area with a shelter that the larger community desperately needs, then think twice before signing a petition to “save this park.”

A petition drive is underway, opposing a bylaw that would allow Victoria city council to remove a 40-year old playlot in a light industrial area from its reserve. The Ellice Street Reservation Removal Bylaw will allow council to consider the lease of this land to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, if our application to build a shelter and housing development on the property is approved.

The concern over the preservation of the park seems more emotional than practical. The site is located in an industrial area, not in a residential neighbourhood. It is a playlot having industrial and commercial uses surrounding it. The closest residential neighbourhood is across Gorge Road – a busy arterial road. Although the city has increased its cleaning and services at the playlot, it is under-utilized by families and is a magnet for illegal activity.

Council has ensured that there will be no net loss of park space if the playlot is removed. A new park, equal or greater in size, than what currently exists, would be established in the neighbourhood closer to children and families.

The size of the Ellice Street property permits flexibility in site planning to accommodate all the resources and spaces needed to achieve a well-functioning shelter and transitional housing development. Since our proposal was announced earlier this year, the society has engaged in constructive consultation and communication with neighbours and has responded to their concerns through design enhancements.

We also learned that many of the neighbours’ fears stemmed from existing neighbourhood issues relating to safety and security. We believe Cool Aid’s presence in the area will help to mitigate these issues. In addition, the Victoria police have committed to have an office in the building and an increased presence.

Cool Aid has successfully entered into Good Neighbour Agreements in other neighbourhoods, most recently with North Park for our Next Steps Shelter, and is fully committed to working with Ellice Street neighbours and the Burnside-Gorge Community Association to arrive at such an agreement for this new resource.

Cool Aid’s Streetlink shelter serves twice the number of clients as it was originally designed for and is no longer adequate to provide the services needed to assist people to move from homelessness to permanent housing.

Overall, our proposed, purpose-built, best-practice shelter and transitional housing facility will offer improved services for people to regain independence than can be offered at the existing, cramped Streetlink shelter.

Coast Capital Youth Team Helps Cool Aid Tenants

Active ImageOver the last several months, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union’s Youth Team has been helping tenants of Cool Aid and of the YM/YWCA.

It started with planting a garden. On Sunday May 4, 2008 the Coast Community Youth Team restored a flowerbed outside the Pandora Youth Apartments which are maintained by the Victoria Cool Aid Society and managed by the YM/YWCA Outreach Services. They provide transitional housing for youth aged 15-19 years with eight independent, fully contained bachelor units. With youth supporting youth, the Youth Team felt it would be an important area for the Coast Community Youth Team to tackle.

In the following weeks, the Youth Team also put out “Wish Boxes” in the staff areas of each of the 12 local branches of Coast Capital asking staff to contribute needed items such as socks, towels, blankets, clothes, bus tickets and toilettries. The result was a show of concern by other employees at the credit union which the Youth Team delivered in 13 overflowing boxes of needed items on June 18 for Cool Aid’s housing program tenants.

The same day, Coast Capital provided 100 tickets to the United Way for the 2008 Tall Ships Festival.  Cool Aid tenants, patients, shelter users and other clients have been invited to enjoy the show courtesy of Coast Capital.

Cool Aid would like to thank the Coast Capital Youth Team for caring about the homeless and vulnerable and reaching out a caring hand. The Coast Community Youth Team members are:

Members of Coast Capital's Youth Team and the boxes of the credit union's donations for Cool Aid tenantsRobin Cushing—
Youth Team Leader

Nigel Syrotuck
Anjuli Cheema
Rosie Mazzola
Paige Lindsay
Megan Sebastian
Annelies Bekes
Paul Molina-Plant
Meagan Cowan
Erin Stead
Tricia Pubben
Jenny Cheng
Sammy Moor

Several of the team members pose on the right with John Crean, Cool Aid’s manager of housing, after delivering the donations collected from credit union employees for Cool Aid’s tenants. A high-resolution image is available by clicking on the photo.


In November 2006, Coast Capital Savings Credit Union provided the Community Casual Labour Pool with funding totaling $6,450. These funds were provided to assist workers in the Labour Pool secure work boots and bus tickets in order to attend job placements they would otherwise be unable to fill.

Annual General Meeting 2008

The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s 40th Anniversary Annual General Meeting is scheduled for July 9th at 12 noon in our Downtown Community Activity Centre at 755 Pandora Avenue.

As Cool Aid looks back on forty years (1968-2008) of building hope, lives and community, we are grateful for all the support received in order to provide an ever-expanding range of integrated programs and services in the Capital Region.

 

As we look ahead, Cool Aid is encouraged by the creation of purpose-driven initiatives such as the Mayor’s Task Force and the Greater Victoria Commission to End Homelessness. We are active partners in the development of community-based solutions to end homelessness, while continuing to provide quality housing, shelter and community health services to homeless and vulnerable adults in the Victoria area.

Commission co-chairs Mayor Alan Lowe and Honourable Ted Hughes have been invited to speak on the theme: Helping our Community End Homelessness.

We sincerely thank Cool Aid’s partners, donors, volunteers, community and staff for their ongoing support for Cool Aid’s work in the community.

40th Anniversary Arts Festival – Friday Is Deadline for Participation

Active ImageVictoria – This year is Cool Aid’s 40th Anniversary (1968-2008) and the society’s first major celebration is a free, summer Arts Festival & 40th Reunion – “Cool Aid Culture”, which will be held in Centennial Square on Saturday, August 16 from 1 pm to 7 pm. Creative works such as music, visual arts, crafts, spoken word, poetry, dance, theatre, comedy, performance art and others will be featured.

If you have had a relationship with Cool Aid, such as benefiting from its services, working as staff, volunteering, donating or partnering, you are welcome to share your talents at the Arts Festival. The deadline for submissions is this Friday, July 18. To make an arts submission or to volunteer contact Cool Aid at 250-590-1931 orvolunteer@CoolAid.org.

The artists currently signed up will present works in photography, oil paintings, watercolours, sculpture and other media. Well known local artist Mike Lewis, a long-time Cool Aid employee, will be exhibiting. Cool Aid staff are also a musical group and will be participating in a half dozen bands on the stage including Children of Celebrities, with long-time Cool Aid employee and Spiral Café owner Mike Raymer. Other acts include street Marimba band Street Patrol, plus Zolabud and The Essentials.

A variety of colourful characters including Oak Bay Mayor Chris Causton, Ken Kelly of the Downtown Victoria Business Association and Cool Aid’s Manager of Housing John Crean will Emcee the show. Some spots on the stage will be reserved for mystery guests.

Cool Aid is also producing a documentary video this year. If you have any Cool Aid memorabilia, such as photos, film or a story to share for the 40th Anniversary documentary film and historic archives, please contact Cool Aid at 250-590-1931 or video@CoolAid.org  or submit online at www.CoolAid.org/40 .

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

 

– 30 –

Information:               www.CoolAid.org/40

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations Coordinator
250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org

Victoria Rezones Ellice Street Location for Shelter

At a City Council meeting on Thursday, July 24, Victoria City Council voted 5:2 in favour of rezoning 535 Ellice Street to accommodate a new, purpose-built shelter to be completed in 2010. The new shelter will be much improved over the current Streetlink location on Store Street with a large outdoor courtyard area, additional interior space for counselling and support services, storage for residents’ belongings, the capacity for 82 shelter beds for men and women, 20 emergency, cold weather shelter mats, 23 self-contained, transitional apartments, and two family shelter units – where none currently exist in the Capital Region.

Active Image

The shelter will be designed so that a significant portion of the facility can be converted into long-term, supportive housing as Cool Aid works together with other members of the community to build more housing and end homelessness. The existing Streetlink shelter will be converted into an additional 15 units of supportive housing downtown.

Full staffing levels will ensure a high-level of support to help residents improve their lives and find long-term housing. The Victoria Police have committed to a co-location at the new facility from where they can do community outreach, which should help alleviate some of the existing neighbourhood concerns.

Mayor Alan Lowe was in favour of the re-zoning motions which were also supported by Councillors Sonya Chandler, Chris Coleman, Bea Holland, Helen Hughes and

Charlayne Thornton-Joe. Geoff Young and Pamela Madoff opposed the motions while Dean Fortin absented himself from the hearing due to a conflict of interest.

For additional information on the Ellice Street shelter please read the article elsewhere on this web site or contact Cool Aid’s shelter program.

Cool Aid 40th Anniversary Arts Festival Goes to the Dogs

Cool Aid has enlisted the help of Citizen Canine to hostDoggy Idol during its summer Arts Festival, on Saturday, August 16 from 1 to 7 pm. Doggy Idol will be a memorable event for any dog and dog owner, with a fun test, and a series of zany activities such as: dog/owner ball and spoon race, dog with the waggiest tale contest, best-dressed dog, owner most like the dog, etc. (complete schedule, 1-5:30 pm, below). A demonstration “fun test” with a half dozen dogs will be held for the media on the grass adjacent to Centennial Square’s info kiosk, site of Doggy Idol, at 2 pm on Thursday, July 31 – Citizen Canine will run a dog through the fun test and Cool Aid will outline the diverse Arts Festival line-up.

“Any dog and owner can participate in Doggy Idol,” said Brenda Axon, a director of Citizen Canine. “There is no need to pre-register and no fee. Just bring yourself and your four-legged friend down to the Cool Aid Arts Festival on Saturday, August 16.” Donations for Cool Aid will also be accepted at Doggy Idol.

“If you don’t have a dog, bring yourself, family and friends to enjoy live music, visual arts, poetry, street performers and children’s activities at the 40th Anniversary ‘Cool Aid Culture’ Arts Festival,” added Kathy Stinson, Cool Aid’s executive director.

An additional 75 volunteers are still needed for the Arts Festival on Saturday, August 16. Interested members of the public can call 250-590-1931 or email volunteer@CoolAid.org to get involved.

Citizen Canine is a Victoria group focused on advocacy, public education and canine community building including the Canine Good Neighbour Program for the public. “The generally well-behaved dogs of street people show that some of them could teach our Good Neighbour Program,” said director Helen Zeilstra.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

– 30 –

Information:        www.CoolAid.org/40     www.citizencanine.org

A complete schedule for Doggy Idol is below.

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations Coordinator
250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org

Helen Zeilstra, Director, Citizen Canine
250-217-9877, helen@citizencanine.org

Brenda Axon, Director, Citizen Canine
250-664-6615 or 250-896-5029, brendaaxon@shaw.ca


Schedule for Doggy Idol

Saturday, August 16 @ 1 – 5:30 pm

Centennial Square, Victoria City Hall

 

Part of Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival

 

 1 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time
 1.30 pm Dog/owner ball and spoon race (dogs will be on leash)
 2 pm Dog with the waggiest tail
 2.20 pm Dog with the most unique trick
 2.45 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time
 3.15 pm Fastest Eater
 3.30 pm Owner most like dog
 3.50 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time
 4.20 pm Dog with the most appealing eyes
 4.40 pm Best Dressed Dog (Owners dress dogs up)
 5.10 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time

Volunteer Orientation Monday – Cool Aid Culture Arts Festival

Active ImageCool Aid is looking for 40 more volunteers to help during its summer Arts Festival & 40th Reunion, on Saturday, August 16 from 1 to 7 pm. Drivers and roadies are also needed in the days preceding and following the Cool Aid Culture Arts Festival. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 250-590-1931 or email volunteer@CoolAid.org .

A volunteer orientation is being held this coming Monday, August 11 from 5 to 6:30 pm at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Activity Centre, 755 Pandora. Everyone interested in volunteering is invited – whether they have signed up or not.

“Volunteers do not have to attend the orientation to help out but they will find it an interesting and helpful introduction to Cool Aid and our unique Arts Festival,” said Kathy Stinson, Cool Aid’s executive director.

“Anyone wishing to volunteer is encouraged to bring a friend or other family member along.  It’s more fun to volunteer together,” said Alan Rycroft, community relations coordinator for Cool Aid. “Interested persons should call Cool Aid right away at 250-590-1931 to sign up or to get more information.”

The “Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival & 40th Reunion” includes six hours of live music, over 25 visual artists displaying and selling their creations, street acts, a children’s area, and 4½ hours of “Doggy Idol” for dog lovers and their furry friends. The full program will be released on Wednesday, August 13 in the morning.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

– 30 –

Information:        www.CoolAid.org/40

Volunteer job opportunities at the Arts Festival

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations Coordinator
250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org

City of Victoria Approves ACCESS Grant

Active ImageOn March 5, 2009, the City of Victoria approved a $50,000 grant for the ACCESS Health Centre downtown, in addition to a 50% property tax reduction for 2009. The grant will cover the building, plumbing, and electric permits required for the renovations. Councillors also voted to send a letter to other local municipalities reminding them of the clinic, which will offer services to people from all municipalities, encouraging them to support it financially.

Health care for Victoria’s most vulnerable

Housing shortages, substance use and increasing mental health issues impact every citizen and business in the region. The ACCESS Health Centre will address these issues by delivering one-stop comprehensive services to the Capital Region’s most impoverished citizens.

ACCESS is a partnership between AIDS Vancouver Island and the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Both organizations have a long history and understanding of the obstacles facing people who are poor, homeless, addicted, living with chronic illness or other challenges in their life.

ACCESS Supporters

Victoria Cool Aid Society · AIDS Vancouver Island · Vancouver Island Health Authority · Capital Regional District · City of Victoria · Government of BC · Victoria Foundation · Fairlane Foods · BC Gaming Corporation · BC Housing · Mr. & Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation · Victoria Foundation · Sun Star Fund · TD Commercial Banking · United Way of Greater Victoria · Wellspring Fund · Cadillac Fairview · Dodd’s Furniture Warehouse · Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Coast Capital Contributes $30,000 to Equip ACCESS Kitchen

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union has contributed $30,000 towards equipping the commercial kitchen on the third floor of the ACCESS Health Centre. The kitchen and dining/drop-in area is the center of ACCESS Health Centre’s nutrition program. That includes the AIDS Vancouver Island’s Nutrition Support Program, a drop-in lunch service for people living with HIV and their families. Most people who use this lunch program lack the money meet their special dietary needs. For many, it may be their only meal of the day. By providing a nutritious meal five days each week, the Program increases the food security and quality of life of individuals and families living with HIV in Greater Victoria.

The commercial kitchen and dining facilities will also be available to other community organizations. Groups who want to provide community kitchens, Food Safe training, nutrition classes, and meals at breakfast and dinner, as well as on weekends when few food programs are offered, will make use of this full-service kitchen. This facility will help to meet the most basic needs of people who are homeless and poor.

Housing shortages, substance use and increasing mental health issues impact every citizen and business in the region. The ACCESS Health Centre will address these issues by delivering one-stop comprehensive services to the Capital Region’s most impoverished citizens.

ACCESS is a partnership between AIDS Vancouver Island and the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Both organizations have a long history and understanding of the obstacles facing people who are poor, homeless, addicted, living with chronic illness or other challenges in their life.

ACCESS Health Centre receives $710,000 funding

The Capital Regional Hospital District, the United Way of Greater Victoria, TELUS, and Coast Capital Savings have recently committed $710,000 towards the ACCESS Health Centre, a one-stop health and social services center for people struggling with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.  ACCESS is a joint project of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, costing $5.3 million to reconstruct the ACCESS building at 713 Johnson Street.

Active Image

“This brings the total amount raised for this project to $ 4.2 million,” said Kathy Stinson, executive director of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. “We are thrilled to be so close to our goal of $5.3 million for the project, which will allow us to offer improved health and social services to vulnerable people in our community.” The Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) approved an additional $500,000 capital grant towards the ACCESS Health Centre, above the initial commitment of $545,148 approved in 2007.

“The CRHD is proud to have supported this much needed community priority project for the Region”, said Graham Hill, Chair of the CRHD. “The ACCESS Health Centre will not only provide a modern, well-designed facility to meet the needs of the homeless and persons affected by HIV/AIDS, it will also create a centralized one-stop location for health and social services staff  to better plan and deliver critical services to the community, thereby reducing pressure on our acute care hospitals.  We are all connected and an investment in ACCESS benefits us all. ”

The United Way of Greater Victoria recently approved $150,000 funding towards the project over the next two years. This is in addition to a recent commitment by Coast Capital Savings of $30,000 to the commercial kitchen, which will operate on the third floor of the ACCESS Health Centre, and a commitment from TELUS to provide in-kind contributions of technology equipment and services worth $30,000.

“Health care is such an integral part of improving the lives of Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens. Often clients don’t seek medical help because stigma and fear act as barriers between this population and traditional health services,” said Katrina Jensen, executive director of AIDS Vancouver Island. “By walking through the doors, ACCESS clients will have the advantage of continuity of care at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room visit.”

Services at the ACCESS Health Centre will include counselling, mental health services, dental services, and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable. The Cool Aid Community Health Clinic will be located on the first floor, the Cool Aid Dental Clinic and VIHA mental health and addiction services will be on the second floor, and AIDS Vancouver Island’s prevention, support, education and administrative services will be on the third floor.

For more information please visit www.ACCESSHealthCentre.ca.

– 30 –

For more information or to organize a tour of the ACCESS Health Centre, please contact:

Kathy Stinson
Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-383-1977 or kstinson@CoolAid.org

Andrea Langlois
Communications Coordinator, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366 ext 112 or andrea.langlois@avi.org

Additional background information:

Sheila Taylor
Manager, Community Relations, Capital Regional District
250-360-3308

www.ACCESSHealthCentre.ca

www.CoolAid.org

www.avi.org

Next Steps Shelter Receives North Park Neighbourhood Association Award

Active ImageThe North Park Neighbourhood Association will present a good neighbour plaque to Cool Aid’s Next Steps Transitional Shelter on Wednesday, June 17, 2009, at 3 pm at the shelter (2317 Dowler Place), to mark over a year of good relations in the community. The Neighbourhood Association, shelter residents and Cool Aid staff will celebrate with food donated from Alzus Family Restaurant and live music. Other North Park residents and the media are welcome to attend.

“The success of our Good Neighbour Agreement shows that if we all work together, there is a place for everyone in our neighbourhoods,” said Don McTavish, manager of shelters for Victoria Cool Aid Society. “Our neighbourhood includes social services, businesses, renters, homeowners and those without homes. It’s our neighbourhood and we’re proud of it.”

The Next Steps Transitional Shelter provides an opportunity for 15 emergency shelter clients to access the resources and services they need to get their lives back on track. Such services include housing, employment, financial, life skills, and mentorship, as well as physical and mental health services. Experienced staff work closely with individual participants to develop personal action plans designed to help them move to a better place to live their lives. These plans aim to achieve a successful transition from a state of homelessness to stabilized housing.

Victoria Cool Aid Society provides supported housing, emergency shelter, primary health care services, life skills training and job placements to vulnerable adults in the Victoria area, in a non-judgemental way. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org/shelters or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

Information:        www.CoolAid.org/shelters 

Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters, Cool Aid
250-888-7103, dmctavish@CoolAid.org

Alex Kerr, North Park Neighbourhood Association
250-294-4108, askerr@shaw.ca

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Cool Aid
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

40 Years of Cool Aid Culture – Documentary Video

A short film about Cool Aid’s history & philosophy

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool for adults who are homeless or in need of help.

This video is a historically-focused, 28-minute documentary about Cool Aid’s history, philosophy and many services. It was filmed in 2008 during Cool Aid’s 40th Anniversary . The video will be aired on television (see schedule below), shown at Cool Aid presentations, and is now online (play below). Two smaller versions will be produced, i.e. 30-second public service announcement (PSA) and a 3-minute webcast.

DVDs available for $10 each: Cool Aid, 102-749 Pandora Avenue, Victoria BC, V8W 1N9.

Courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria. Find this story and more on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

 

Watch the full 28-minute video on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.


Live Premiere Screening

During Homelessness Action Week, join Cool Aid for the premiere screening. The film presentation is free – on Saturday, October 17, 2009, from 2 pm to 4 pm in the sanctuary of St. John the Divine church, 1611 Quadra Street, downtown. After the film, there will be a short discussion.

2009 Broadcast Premiere

40 Years of Cool Aid Culture DVD coverShowtimes on Shaw TV, channel 11 are:

Sat., Oct. 17th at 10 PM
Sunday, Oct. 18th at 9 AM
Sunday, Oct. 18th at 11 AM
Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5:30 PM
Sunday, Oct. 18th at 11 PM
Tuesday, Oct. 20th at 3 PM
Thursday, Oct. 22nd at 9:30 PM

If you have any Cool Aid memorabilia, such as photos, film or a story to share, please contact Cool Aid (250-383-1977). Historical submissions are also be welcomed online.

Cool Videos and Documentary Now Online

Victoria Cool Aid Society is pleased to announce the addition today of a video section to our web site – largely thanks to the many stories Shaw TV ran on our housing, health care and shelter services during our 40th Anniversary.

As well as these short stories, you will find a 28-minute documentary on Cool Aid’s history, philosophy and services.

Check out all of our Cool videos in one place. Here’s just one sample (a story provided courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria):

This story provided courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria. Find this story and more on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

Every Step Counts at the Royal Victoria Marathon

Every Step Counts, Victoria’s champion running program for people experiencing challenges with mental health, addiction and other social issues, takes on the Royal Victoria Marathon. With less than six weeks until the Royal Victoria Marathon, Every Step Counts is getting ready. This will be the team’s third event, after the Times Colonist 10k and the Sidney Canada Day 5k.

Not only will Every Step Counts be participating as a team, but also as part of the Charity Pledge Program. The larger community is invited to run as part of Every Step Counts and collect pledges, or cheer at the side lines and donate to this positive and dynamic running program.  Donations can be made online .

 “I never thought I would be doing this!”
“It is so amazing that we are at this level. This is the cat’s meow. I will be there, rain or shine.”
“My doctor and family are so impressed with me”

 

Quotes from Every Step Counts team members

On Friday, October 9, Every Step Counts will be holding a carbo-load dinner at the Grand Pacific Hotel with guest speaker Dick Beardsley . This elite athlete and international speaker has his own riveting and inspirational tale of wrestling with addiction to share. It will be a very special evening with a silent auction and the Every Step Counts crew. Click on the poster below for information on the Every Carb Counts inspirational dinner and fundraiser. Print it, hang it up, spread the love.

Every Carb Counts - Friday, October 9 poster thumbnail

Every Step Counts, spearheaded and supported by the Victoria Foundation along with the Victoria Cool Aid Society, Frontrunners, Vancity, United Way of Greater Victoria, TELUS Community Board and Jawl Foundation is taking health and wellness to the streets, step by step, smile by smile, mile by mile.

For more information, to volunteer, or donate please contact Gillie Easdon, Program Coordinator, 250-882-5261 or at geasdon@CoolAid.org or visit www.CoolAid.org/esc .

Community Health Centre Re-Opens Tuesday at Access, 713 Johnson

Victoria – Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Community Health Care Centre will re-open for patients this Tuesday, September 15 at its new location in the Access Health Centre , 713 Johnson Street downtown.

Active ImageCool Aid has been providing community health services in the Capital Region for 40 years, including primary health care, counselling, dental care and a dispensing pharmacy. Cool Aid’s health team includes doctors and nurses, counsellors, a nutritionist, psychiatrist, acupuncturist, podiatrist; dentists and dental hygienists; and a pharmacist and pharmacy technician. The Cool Aid Community Health Centre supports 4,000 patients each year who are homeless, vulnerable due to mental illness or disabilities, are living on very low incomes, or who have drug addictions.

Hours of operation are:

Medical Clinic: 713 Johnson Street, 1st Floor, 250-385-1466
Hours: Mon., Tue.  9 – 6 pm, Wed., Thur. 9 – 8 pm, Fri. 9 – 3 pm, Sat. 10 – 2 pm
Dental Clinic: 713 Johnson Street, 2nd Floor, 250-383-5957
Hours: Mon. to Fri., 9 to 4 pm

The Access Health Centre is a partnership between Cool Aid and AIDS Vancouver Island . The $5.3 million building acquisition and reconstruction project brings together a variety of health and social service providers in a single location to provide better, more efficient service delivery. $1.1 million still needs to be raised for the building to be mortgage-free.   Donations from the public and the business community are welcome.

Cool Aid provides supportive housing, emergency shelter, primary health care services, dental care, mental health and addictions services, a dispensing pharmacy, counselling, life skills training and job placements to marginalized adults in the Capital Region, in a non-judgemental way. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

Information:        www.CoolAid.org        www.AccessHealthCentre.ca

Call for Artists

Two upcoming events are looking for artists who have experienced homelessness to participate – “Art and Soul” on October 16, during Homelessness Action Week, and the “Homeless Awareness” exhibit, being held January 15 to February 28, 2010.

Art and Soul

The search is on for artists and musicians who have experienced homelessness. (Click on the poster for a full-sized version you can print out and hang up.)

The event:  “Art and Soul”, an evening of art and music featuring the works of people who have been homeless.
The venue:  Victoria Conservatory of Music, Oct. 16, 2009, 7-10 pm
The occasion:  Homelessness Action Week, Oct. 11-17
Contact : Jody Paterson, jodypaterson@shaw.ca   or
Eileen-Heather Pritchard, eileen_pritch@yahoo.ca

Sponsored by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

Homeless Awareness Exhibit

Artists are encouraged to submit art works for an upcoming exhibit: Homeless Awareness.

This exhibition will be on display in Victoria at the York Hotel complex from January 15 to February 28, 2010. The exhibit will serve to educate our community on homelessness and provide a venue for these artists to have their work shown in a respectful and professional environment.

  • All art must be for sale (drawings, paintings, sculpture, photographs, etc.). – Accepted artists will receive 100% of the money from their art sales.
  • Artists do not need any art training or experience to be selected.
  • Artists will be selected based on the quality of their artwork.
  • Artists must currently reside in B.C.
  • Artists must have experienced homelessness sometime during the past 5 years.

Active ImageTo submit work: mail or email us up to 10 images of your work. You can send color photo copies, photographs, or digital images. Please do not send any original work. Please also include some written information about yourself and your art as well as information on how we can contact you. Deadline for submitting art for consideration is October 15, 2009. Accepted artists will be notified on or around October 31.

You can email your information to us at info@VictoriaFineArtFestival.org or you can mail it to us at:

Victoria Fine Art Festival
“Homeless Awareness”
PO Box 8705
Victoria BC, V8W 3S3

 For more information, visit our website at www.VictoriaFineArtFestival.org.

Cool Aid Documentary Premiere

October 2009 – During Homelessness Action Week, join Cool Aid for the premiere screening of their short documentary, “40 Years of Cool Aid Culture ,” about the organization’s philosophy, history and services for Victorians without homes and those who are marginalized. After the film, there will be a short discussion led by Cool Aid managers.

The film presentation is free – on Saturday, October 17th, from 2 pm to 4 pm in the sanctuary of St. John the Divine church, 1611 Quadra Street, downtown. Donations for Cool Aid and the Aspire campaign of St. John’s will be accepted.

This story provided courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria. Find this story and more on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.


St. John the Divine Anglican Church is a long-time partner of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Today, St. John’s congregation provides the church as an emergency shelter during the cold and wet winter season.

The documentary is also been shown on Shaw TV, Channel 11 at the following times:

  • Sat., Oct. 17th at 10 PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 9 AM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 11 AM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5:30 PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 11 PM
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20th at 3 PM
  • Thursday, Oct. 22nd at 9:30 PM

See all Cool Aid videos online anytime at www.CoolAid.org/video.

“Housing continues to be our greatest area of concern”

Vital Signs 2009 report

Victoria receives its fourth annual report card:

“Housing continues to be our greatest area of concern”

The Victoria Foundation released its fourth annual Vital Signs report earlier today, providing a snapshot of the livability and wellbeing of life in the Capital Region. The report combines public opinion and statistics and presents them in an easy to read format aimed at stimulating conversation around 11 issue areas. More than 850 citizens in the region participated in this year’s online survey to grade Victoria’s Vital Signs.

“Vital Signs indicate that our concerns continue to be monopolized with housing – be it rental or social,” says Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “We are also very troubled by the increasing loss of life from illicit drugs, the lack of childcare spaces and the cost of living for families in the region.”

“Graders told us that we are proud of our environment and generally perform well when it comes to protecting it and we are also big users of the Internet,” adds Richardson.

The issue area of Housing continues to be our greatest concern with the lowest overall grade in the report a C minus. The three Individual indicators within the Housing section that received D+ grades include rental availability, the social housing waitlist and rental vacancy.

New to the report this year is a snapshot of Greater Victoria’s Youth – a section made possible by funding from theTELUS Victoria Community Board. Hundreds of youth responded to an online survey and not only completed the grading but took the time to make thoughtful comments. The Youth Vital Signs is a great starting point for learning about what is important to and concerns the youth in our community.

The top five priorities for attention in Victoria, as identified by youth include:

  • Youth Housing and Homelessness
  • Poverty: Rich vs. Poor
  • Growing Up Green: Environmental Awareness
  • Youth Voice
  • Education and Learning

“The knowledge that we have gathered from Vital Signs will serve as an important reference point for the work of many of us in the coming months and years,” says Chuck Burkett, Chair of the Victoria Foundation Board of Directors. “The report helps connect philanthropy to community needs and supports decision-making in the region.”

For instance, of the 30 proactive grants the Foundation made last year there are two that stand out as significant grants addressing Vital Signs issues. First, a $100,000 contribution to the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, to support its wide-ranging efforts to address this on-going challenge.

Second, a $25,000 grant to pilot a running program called Every Step Counts (ESC) geared to people experiencing barriers and challenges with housing, mental health, addiction and social isolation. ESC was a particularly good fit given the region’s status as a mecca for running in Canada, and it was also a unique way for the Victoria Foundation to support the needs being identified in Vital Signs.

The Vital Signs report is part of a nationwide initiative, coordinated by Community Foundations of Canada. Fifteen other community foundations across Canada also released local Vital Signs report cards today.

The report, as well as an expanded version with additional indicators and full source information and links, is available at: www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca
For further information: Shannon Drew-Burrows, Director of Communications, Victoria Foundation, (250) 381-5532 ext. 227, (250) 516-7288 (cell), shannon@victoriafoundation.bc.ca

Homelessness Action Week Events: Oct 10 – 22, 2009

Shaw Channel 11 will be airing the Cool Aid documentary at the following times:

  • Sat., Oct. 17th at 10 PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 9 AM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 11 AM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5:30 PM
  • Sunday, Oct. 18th at 11 PM
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20th at 3 PM
  • Thursday, Oct. 22nd at 9:30 PM

Project Connect*, Oct. 14, Our Place, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – We’re anticipating 600 or more people will attend this service fair for people living homeless and in extreme poverty. The day brings a wide variety of service providers into the same room to offer some two dozen services ranging from haircuts and bike repairs, to nursing care and blood-sugar testing.

Student forum*, Oct. 15, Downtown Community Activity Centre – Leadership students from throughout the region will join facilitator Jody Paterson in exploring the issues of homelessness and poverty with five local people who have experienced homelessness.

40 Years of Cool Aid Culture film premiere, Sat, Oct 17 @ 2-4 pm, St. John the Divine Anglican Church, 1611 Quadra, upstairs in the sanctuary. The 28-minute documentary is about Cool Aid’s philosophy, history and services for Victorians without homes and those who are marginalized. After the film, there will be a short discussion led by Cool Aid managers. Also see below for TV airing times on Shaw Channel 11.

Art and Soul*, Oct. 17, Victoria Conservatory of Music, 7 -10 p.m. – This special evening will feature the art and music of people who have experienced homelessness, and is intended to flip the negative image of homelessness on its head for a night and celebrate the talent and creativity of unknown local artists. Admission is free.

On Sunday, Oct. 18, Faith in Action will sponsor a forum at Cadboro Bay United Church, 2625 Arbutus Road, from 2 – 4:30 pm. Addictions, Homelessness: Connecting the Dots. Presenters include Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s chief medical health officer; Deputy Police Chief John Ducker; and Dr. Danica Gleave of the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

A panel discussion entitled Our Homelessness Crisis will also be airing on Shaw TV throughout Homelessness Action Week. Watch for it on Shaw TV – Channel 11 in Greater Victoria and on Saltspring Island at the following times:

  • Saturday, October 10th at 8:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 11th at 10 PM
  • Monday, October 12th at noon and also at 9:30 PM
  • Tuesday, October 13th at noon and also at 7 PM
  • Wednesday, October 14th at noon and also at 8:30 PM
  • Thursday, October 15th at noon and also at 9:30 PM
  • Friday, October 16th at noon and also at 8:30 PM
  • Saturday, October 17th at 8:30 PM

 

* The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is sponsoring these three events during Homelessness Action Week. 

Benefit Concert for Out of the Rain Youth Shelter

A benefit concert for the Out of the Rain youth shelterFeed the Need is paring up with PSCC Fundraising Committee to launch its third campaign, Youth off The Streets!  Together we plan to host a multitude of fundraising events in support of the Out of the Rain Youth Shelter Program .  (Charitable Registration No. 2995 1174 RR0001)

The first event will be a benefit concert held at Vic High Theatre. The first part of the evening will feature one of the most amazing bands right now in Victoria, the Vic High Rhythm and Blues Band will blow you away with their soulful performance.  Then to close out the night, your heart will be stolen by the beautiful lyrics and unbelievable falsetto by multitalented recording artist Shawn Hlookoff.

The concert is November 12, 2009 from 7:00pm – 11pm. Doors open at 6:00pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $7 students!! Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!

The Out of the Rain program was designed to help youths aged 15-25 years by providing them basic assistance during the coldest months of the year. The program is open from November to April, providing each youth a meal for dinner and breakfast. Doors open from 10 pm to 8 am, with seven different locations participating alternating different nights of the week. Victoria Cool Aid Society hosts the Out of the Rain youth shelter every Sunday in theDowntown Community Activity Centre and has done so for many years (you can also read about Cool Aid’s own shelter programs here).

The goal of the Out of the Rain is reduce harm to homeless youth by providing a safe warm dry place to sleep!  On an average night the program serves anywhere from 23-27 youths and their pets. Two fulltime staff members are present throughout the entire night to help with meals, setup and support; volunteers are always welcome for various positions!

This is such an incredible opportunity for both fundraising efforts and the community. The youth who benefit from this program rely on our support to access basic necessities we sometimes take for granted. This year we have a goal to raise $10,000 towards the program, a goal I believe we can easily achieve with all our efforts!

The first event will be a benefit concert held at Vic High Theatre. The first part of the evening will feature one of the most amazing bands right now in Victoria, the Vic High Rhythm and Blues Band will blow you away with their soulful performance.  Then to close out the night, your heart will be stolen by the beautiful lyrics and unbelievable falsetto by multitalented recording artist Shawn Hlookoff.

The concert is November 12, 2009 from 7 pm – 11 pm. Doors open at 6 pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $7 students!! Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!

For more information or for tickets contact:

Kara Martin
Provincial Services EAW / Feed The Need
Phone: (250) 387-9829   Fax: (250) 356-7751
Kara.Martin@gov.bc.ca

Coalition to End Homelessness – Coordinator Position

The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness has a job opening for a “Greater Victoria Streets to Homes Strategic Coordinator”.

The primary purpose of the Greater Victoria Streets to Homes initiative, of which Cool Aid is a partner, is to house people who are homeless in the private market using a Housing First with Supports approach through improved service integration and coordinated access to rental accommodation.

Holiday Meals 2009

For more information or to volunteer please contact the sponsoring organizations:

November 29 @ 4 pm and 6 pm
Mustard Seed at the Bay Street Armories
Two sittings @ 4 pm and 6 pm
Tickets available at Mustard Seed Office

Saturday, Dec. 12th @ 1 pm
Polish Community Association Christmas Lunch
Streetlink Emergency Shelter, 1634 Store Street

Saturday, Dec. 12th @ 2 pm – 6 pm 
3rd Annual Bandits Benefit Chili Supper
Cool Aid Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora
Organized by Eric Raschig with music from the Turnpike Bandits.

More meals listed below.

December 19, 2009 @ 1 pm
North Douglas Pentecostal Church
675 Jolly Place  250-744-2411

December 24, 2009
Christmas Eve Day
Tapa Bar 620 Trounce Alley
Annual Dinner for the Homeless
12 pm – 3 pm

December 25, 2009
Christmas Day
Glad Tidings 1800 Quadra St
3 Sittings 12 pm, 2:30 pm, 5 pm
(5 pm sitting is for adults only)
Must register before by calling 250-386-9909.
If kids will be attending must give ages.

December 25, 2009
Christmas Day
Blethering Place 2250 Oak Bay Avenue
8:00 am for Breakfast, Dinner served  from 9:30am till 3:30pm

December 25, 2009
Our Place: Drop in Open
Rainbow Kitchen
serving lunch on Both Christmas Day and New Year’s day.

December 31, 2009
Our Place Society
11:30 – 2:30

Post Xmas Dinner Salvation Army: 3rd week in January
To be announced

Lighting Up to End Homelessness

Victoria Harbour Ferry Santa Ballet

Come bundled up and celebrate the holiday season and help end homelessness on Saturday December 6 as The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority holds its 25th annual Lighted Ship Parade at Ship Point Pier in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

Join us under a 3,000 square foot heated tent from 5 pm – 9 pm. The evening will feature local urban fare, live music, a local artisan night market, hot apple cider and other drinks from Lighthouse Brewing and Mark Anthony Group Wineries.

At 7 pm twenty five beautifully decorated ships will launch into the night to display their elegant lights along the inner harbour and Fisherman’s Wharf, all within minutes of enjoying Victoria’s favourite annual Truck Parade. Stay and enjoy the excitement while Santa Claus makes a surprise appearance with candy canes for the children.

All proceeds from the event go to the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Every Step Counts running program.

 

Thanks to Victoria Foundation and others – Just $1.0 Million to Go!

Active ImageVictoria – November 27, 2009 – Thanks to generous gifts totalling $103,000 pledged this month, the Access Health Centre is now within $1 million of its $5.3 million funding target. Paying the remainder of reconstruction costs will free up operating dollars for spending on critical health care and social services for 6,000 of the region’s most vulnerable individuals. The Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island are offering a building naming opportunity for the beautiful heritage building at 713 Johnson Street downtown for the last $1 million.

“We are so thankful to the outpouring of community support for the Access Health Centre,” said Kathy Stinson, executive director of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. “It shows us how many individuals, businesses and community organizations want to ensure that inner city patients and clients get the respectful health care and social services they deserve.”

Pledges and donations received this month include:

  • $53,000, Victoria Foundation
  • $10,000, Naz Rayani (Cadboro Bay Peoples Compounding Pharmacy and
    Campus Medicine Centre Pharmacy)
  • $10,000, TELUS
  • $10,000, Canpro Construction
  • $10,000, CitySpaces Consulting
  • $10,000, CIBC

“In this year’s Vital Signs report, the Victoria Foundation identified low-income housing as a priority need for Victoria,” said Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “We also know that appropriate health care and social services are critical for people to find and keep stable housing. Supporting the Access Health Centre is a Foundation investment that will improve the lives of thousands of individuals every year and help address homelessness in the Capital Region.”

“The move into Access in September went without a hitch,” said Katrina Jensen, executive director of AIDS Vancouver Island,” and we are already providing more coordinated services for our clients with Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre. We look forward to also working more closely with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and VIHA in the near future.”

“The additional space, including an additional dental chair and examining rooms, will allow us to see more patients at Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre,” said manager Irene Haigh-Gidora. “Our 4,000 patients are better served in this well-equipped, new facility.”

The Access Health Centre is a one-stop health and social services building downtown for people struggling with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.  Access is a joint project of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, and cost $5.3 million to reconstruct the building at 713 Johnson Street. Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, mental health, dental, pharmaceutical and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable.

The Cool Aid Community Health Clinic is located on the first floor, the Cool Aid Dental Clinic on the second floor, and AIDS Vancouver Island’s prevention, support, education and administrative services is on the third floor. Housing staff and counsellors from Victoria Native Friendship Centre and VIHA’s Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team (VICOT) will be moving in to the second floor in the coming months. Just $1 million more needs to be raised to pay for the Access Health Centre.

For more information please visit www.AccessHealthCentre.ca .

– 30 –

Information:

Kathy Stinson
Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-383-1977

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-213-7464

www.AccessHealthCentre.ca

www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca

www.CoolAid.org/health

www.avi.org

Add Hope To Your Christmas List – Give To Those Less Fortunate

Victoria – Give a gift that will truly be appreciated, with the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List.  A toque, some socks, a moment of your time… these are some of the simple things that would warm the hearts of our city’s homeless population.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society and Shelbourne Street Church of Christ invite the people of greater Victoria to participate in the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List project. Working together, we ask the residents of several shelters to share their experiences and hopes with us, and select a few basic items that they would appreciate as Christmas gifts. These stories and wish lists are then put on the web, where others can read them and decide if they’d like to buy a gift for one of the specific shelter residents.  The gifts are then dropped off either at the Church building or shelter, and delivered in time for Christmas.

www.homelesspartners.com

The purpose of this initiative is to show the homeless that they are not invisible, that they are loved.  We also believe that it will allow people to see that the homeless are not a nameless, faceless, insurmountable issue, but individuals with different personalities and histories, that can be helped in this simple way.

Homeless Partners is a non-profit, self-funded program run entirely by volunteer efforts, in partnership with the staff at shelters where the program is offered. The program is coordinated by a small number of individuals, who assist volunteers from local churches in starting and running the program in their city. The Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List was started by Dan and Jennie Keeran in Vancouver in 2005.

“We moved from the serenity of North Vancouver to the heart of downtown Vancouver and knew we couldn’t turn a blind eye to the homeless issue,” said Jennie Keeran. “We decided to ask the homeless population one simple question: what would you like for Christmas? It is a question we continue to ask, but no longer just in Vancouver.”

The Homeless Partners project has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate at Christmas since 2005, and last year the project was operating in nine major cities across North America. This is the first year Victoria has participated in this project, and we hope to serve the 100+ residents of Next Steps, Sandy Merriman House and Streetlink.

“We don’t expect to cure homelessness,” said Monique Cummings, project coordinator from the Shelbourne Street Church of Christ, “but we do aspire to connect people personally and directly with the less fortunate, and raise awareness of both the problem and the vast amount of work going into a solution by wonderful associations like Cool Aid.”

Members of the public can help by visiting www.homelesspartners.com to learn more, reading the stories, buying gifts or volunteering to interview shelter residents or update the website.  Due to the short-term nature of many shelter stays, most of the stories will appear in mid-December, so please check the site for updates as Christmas Day approaches.

– 30 –

Information:         www.homelesspartners.com                  www.CoolAid.org/shelter

Martin Moore, Preaching Pastor, Shelbourne Street Church of Christ
250-592-4914, martinmoore@shaw.ca

Jennie Keeran, Project Founder
jenniek@uniserve.com

Christine O’Brien, Victoria Cool Aid Society
Coordinator of Sandy Merriman House & Next Steps Transitional Shelter
250- 480-1408, cobrien@CoolAid.org

McGregor Socks Gives 6,000 Pairs to Region’s Homeless

VICTORIA —  December 2, 2009 — Congregation Emanu-El’s social action group, Avodah, announced today that McGregor Socks (Toronto) has donated 6,000 pairs of socks for homeless and poor people in the Capital Region.  This brings to 25,000 the total number of pairs of socks that McGregor Socks has donated to our community since 2005.

Media are invited to a news conference to learn about McGregor’s extraordinary commitment to homeless people in Victoria and Congregation Emanu-El’s efforts to improve the lives of homeless people in Victoria. Avodah will give out socks to YMCA/YWCA Street Outreach and to the “Divine Shelter” at St. John the Divine Anglican Church at the news conference. See complete list of recipient agencies below.

The news conference will take place at 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 at Congregation
Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard St., Victoria.

“Righteous action is at the core of Jewish practice,” said Congregation Emanu-El’s Rabbi Harry Brechner. “We learn in Torah, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Ensuring that there are clean fresh socks for so many people in our city is a powerful manifestation of that teaching.”

McGregor’s remarkable relationship with Congregation Emanu-El and Victoria began in 2005. Recognizing that homeless people desperately need socks, Avodah’s Michael Bloomfield called McGregor Socks for help and McGregor generously responded with its first donation, 6,500 pairs.

McGregor’s generosity offers a great example of corporate social responsibility,” said Bloomfield. “We are thrilled and grateful for McGregor’s generous response. However, homelessness is everyone’s responsibility. Especially during difficult economic times, each of us needs to do our part to help people in need.”

“McGregor is proud to be working with social service agencies in Victoria and across Canada to provide comfort and support for people in need,” said Rob Stanley, vice-president, McGregor Socks. The program in Victoria is an especially wonderful example of cooperation. We hope our gift inspires other businesses to step up and help out.”

“For people who have housing, a pair of warm socks is nice to have and a much-appreciated comfort. For folks without their own homes, dry feet and warm socks will keep you going when you have nothing else,” said Don McTavish, Cool Aid’s Manager of Shelters. “On behalf of the many individuals who will be warmer this winter, I want to thank McGregor Socks for another generous corporate gift to our community and encourage other businesses to consider how they might contribute to help end homelessness.”
The socks will be distributed to the following  social service providers, who will give them out to people who need them most:  AIDS Vancouver Island, Out of the Rain Youth Night Shelter,  Burnside Gorge Community Association, CARTS, James Bay Community project/Youth Clinic, Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter, Native Friendship Centre, Our Place, Pacifica Housing Service, PEERS Office, REES Network, Single Parent Resource Centre, Cool Aid Health Clinic, Sandy Merriman Shelter, Streetlink, VARCS Mobile X Van, YM/YWCA Outreach and the Victoria EWP Program, “Divine Shelter” at St. John the Divine Anglican Church.

-30-

For further information:

Penny Tennenhouse, Avodah, Congregation Emanu-El, 250-380-4885, pennyt@shaw.ca
Michael Bloomfield, Avodah, Congregation Emanu-El, 250-380-3001, bloom@islandnet.com
Rabbi Harry Brechner, Congregation Emanu-El, 250-382-0615, rabbiharry@gmail.com
Rick Hastings, McGregor Industries, 604-417-1226, rick@hastingsagencies.com
Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters, Cool Aid, 250-888-7103, dmctavish@CoolAid.org


Backgrounder

McGregor Socks is a subsidiary of McGregor Industries, Toronto.  McGregor was founded in 1928 by the Lipson family and today is still led by third-generation family members.  The companies’ major source of revenue is from developing and marketing better men’s and women’s socks.  The company distributes a wide range of products through an extensive international sales network, with 10,000 points of sale in over 30 countries.

Congregation Emanu-El, built in 1863, is Canada’s oldest synagogue in continuing use.  In 2003, Rabbi Harry Brechner created the Avodah social action group to turn Congregation Emanu-El’s beliefs into acts of loving kindness.  Avodah —  working closely with social service agencies —  has focused on serving its neighbours who are most in need in Victoria, particularly homeless youth and adults. In addition to the socks initiative, other activities include preparing hot meals for the Out of the Rain youth shelter and putting on monthly birthday parties at Our Place.

Avodah recently created an innovative fund to help families in need pay rent. “This Rental Supplement Fund is the answer Avodah came up with to our urgent question: “When some of our neighbours don’t have homes, what can we do to help?” said Rabbi Brechner. “Avodah believes that even small groups can make a big difference in the lives of people.”

Victoria Cool Aid Society provides primary health care services, supported housing, emergency shelter, life skills training and job placements to marginalized adults in the Victoria area, in a non-judgmental way.  “Cool Aid has been a much-appreciated partner of Congregation Emanu-El throughout our socks project,” said Bloomfield. For more information, visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-414-4781.

Socks and Health Facts

  • When you do not have a home, you spend much of your time standing in lines.  It is hard to keep your feet warm and dry and your feet suffer a lot of abuse, moreso than other parts of your body.
  • Good clean socks help prevent both fungal infections and blisters.
  • Prevention of blisters prevents secondary foot infections that require antibiotic treatment.
  • A patient with a foot fungal infection is encouraged to change into clean socks frequently.
  • Good socks are more important for those who suffer with neuropathy in their feet, like diabetics, and those with AIDS neuropathy, as they have reduced sensation and cannot feel when they are developing sores and blisters

Access Health Centre Celebrates Grand Opening

Victoria – On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2009, the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, along with their partners and funders, will celebrate the official opening of Access Health Centre – a community centre that offers integrated health and support services to people in Victoria’s who struggle with homelessness, problematic substance use, HIV/AIDS, and/or mental health issues and other health challenges. (View photos online.)


Story courtesy of A Channel news, December 1, 2009.

“We are delighted to take this opportunity to highlight this significant achievement and to thank those who have made this project possible through their generous contributions,” said Kathy Stinson, Executive Director of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. “We are pleased that the Access Health Centre is close to meeting its mortgage free goal – $4.3 million has been raised through government funding and community support towards the $5.3 million project. We still need to raise the last million dollars.”

Major funders for the Access Health Centre include the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD), the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), Province of British Columbia, Mr. & Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation, the United Way of Greater Victoria, the Victoria Foundation, Coast Capital Savings, TELUS, Fairlane Foods, and the City of Victoria.

“The CRHD is particularly pleased to support this partnership by investing in this much-needed community priority project for our Region,” said Graham Hill, Chair of the CRHD. “Our most vulnerable residents will now receive one-stop health and social services resulting in a high level of care and preventative relief, which reduces pressure on our acute care hospitals and improves the wellness and health of our homeless and HIV/AIDS-affected citizens.  The CRHD acknowledges the efforts of all the stakeholders that have come together in making this much needed project a reality.”

“The integrated services offered at Access Health Centre will complement the successful work being done by the VIHA Assertive Community Treatment and Outreach teams in providing healthcare and supports to our most vulnerable population,” said Jac Kreut, Board Chair for VIHA. “VIHA is very proud to have contributed $1 million towards the capital costs of this project, and would like to congratulate Cool Aid and AIDS Vancouver Island on this accomplishment.”

“The Housing Endowment Fund was created to support innovative projects like the Access Heath Centre,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “This Centre will provide new hope for individuals struggling with homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and other health barriers with greater access to supports that will help them achieve long-term health and independence.”

Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, mental health services, dental services, and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable. The Cool Aid Community Health Clinic is located on the first floor; the Cool Aid Dental Clinic, and homelessness and health workers from the Victoria Native Friendship Centre are on second floor, soon to be joined by VIHA’s Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team (VICOT); and AIDS Vancouver Island’s prevention, support, education and administrative services on the third floor.

For more information please visit www.AccessHealthCentre.ca.

– 30 –

For more information please contact:

Kathy Stinson
Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-383-1977 or kstinson@CoolAid.org
www.CoolAid.org

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366 ext 2268 or andrea.langlois@avi.org
www.AVI.org

Sheila Taylor
Manager, Community Relations, Capital Regional District
250-360-3308

Jennifer Morgan
Communications Coordinator, VIHA
(250) 370-8374

Rachel Nelken
Communications Specialist, BC Housing
(778) 452-2719

This story provided courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria. Find this story and more on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.


Backgrounder

The ACCESS Health Centre brings together the services of Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre, AIDS Vancouver Island, the Victoria Native Friendship Center, and VIHA’s Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team (VICOT).

Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, mental health services, dental services, and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable. The Cool Aid Community Health Clinic is located on the first floor; the Cool Aid Dental Clinic, and homelessness and health workers from the Victoria Native Friendship Centre are on second floor, soon to be joined by VIHA’s Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team (VICOT); and AIDS Vancouver Island’s prevention, support, education and administrative services on the third floor.

The vision behind the ACCESS Health Centre was born out of a desire to address the growing need for health services for the community’s most vulnerable. ACCESS creates a synergy between health care and support by bringing many services together under one roof. The community-at-large will also benefit through reduced demands on emergency and acute health care services and a reduction in transmitted diseases.

In 2005, Cool Aid and AIDS Vancouver Island joined together acquire the former Bingo Hall property at 713 Johnson Street downtown for the future home of ACCESS. This was made possible, in part, through a generous donation by the former owner – Fairlane Foods – and a mortgage through Vancity Credit Union.

In the spirit of cooperation, the building was provided as a temporary home for the Our Place drop-in for the homeless while they were constructing their new facility. Without this support Our Place would not have had a home and their critical services would have been lost from January 2006 through Fall 2007.

In 2006, the ACCESS Health Centre project was chosen out of nearly 100 projects to be one of 4 projects competing for a $1 million dollar award from Vancity. Although ACCESS did not win the award, the nomination and process illustrated significant support for the project.

To date, AVI and Cool Aid have raised $4.3 million and continue to raise the $1 million required to operate mortgage free.


Thank You to Our Generous Donors

  • $1,045,000, Capital Regional Hospital District
  • $1 million, Vancouver Island Health Authority
  • $650,000, Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island
  • $300,000, Province of British Columbia
  • $205,000, BC Housing
  • $160,000, United Way of Greater Victoria
  • $55,000 City of Victoria plus
    $50,000, Victoria Civic Heritage Trust
  • $100,000, Anonymous donor
  • $68,500, Mr. & Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation
  • $68,000, Cool Aid and AIDS Vancouver Island directors and staff
  • $63,000, Victoria Foundation
  • $30,000 Coast Capital Savings
  • $40,000 TELUS
  • $25,000 Henry Schein, Inc.
  • $20,000, Sun Star Fund (through the Victoria Foundation)
  • $20,000, Naz Rayani (Cadboro Bay Peoples Compounding Pharmacy
    & Campus Medicine Centre Pharmacy)
  • $20,000, Cool Aid individual donors
  • $16,000, BMO Financial Group
  • $15,000, TD Commercial Banking
  • $14,000, Wellspring Fund
  • $11,000 Deane Strongitharm
  • $10,000 CIBC
  • $10,000 CitySpaces Consulting
  • $10,000 Canpro Construction
  • $10,000 McAllister Media
  • and other generous donations from supporters of Cool Aid and AIDS Vancouver Island

Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon – Raise Money for Every Step Counts

Every Step Counts is an innovative running program designed for people experiencing barriers and challenges with housing, mental health, addiction and other related issues.  It is positive and innovative, drawing on the wide-reaching and long-lasting benefits of exercising and team work to foster self esteem, confidence, energy and positive growth.

We invite you to join forces with the Every Step Counts team in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train and race in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon events on Sunday, October 10, 2010. You can run the 8K, half marathon or full marathon – and raise money for the Every Step Counts running program!

Register here – www.runvictoriamarathon.com/sponsors/charities.php

Download an Every Carb Counts fundraising dinner poster for printing (see below).

Runners from Every Step Counts at the TC 10 K run

We hope that you choose to be a part of our team and commit to raising money and awareness in support of this awesome running program.

Incentives

  • Sleek runners legs
  • $100 raised – a $25 gift card to Frontrunners and an official Every Step Counts water bottle
  • $500 – free entrance to race and an official Every Step Counts T-shirt

Information

Register here – www.runvictoriamarathon.com/sponsors/charities.php

Brittany McConeghy, 250-882-5261 or bmcconeghy@CoolAid.org

www.CoolAid.org/esc takes you to the main Every Step Counts web page

Poster

We’d love it if you can download and print a copy of the poster and put it up where runners will see it.

 

Every Carb Counts pre-marathon celebration and fundraising event

 

Remember – Every Step Counts – Especially the First !!!!

Cool Aid’s 42nd AGM: Building Community Together

June 25, 2010 – View Royal Mayor Graham Hill, Chair of the Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD), is the keynote speaker at Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Annual General Meeting, this Monday, June 28 @ 12 noon, at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Activity Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue. Mayor Graham Hill will speak on the theme: Building Community Together. The CRHD was instrumental in providing over $1 million in funding for the Access Health Centre and land for Olympic Vista seniors housing in Saanich.

Highlights for Cool Aid’s 2009-10 year include:

  • Access Health Centre opened on September 9, 2009 with AIDS Vancouver Island
  • $4.4 million of $5.3 million now raised for Access Health Centre capital campaign
  • Construction begun on the new Ellice Street shelter in Rock Bay neighbourhood
  • Planning completed for new Olympic Vista seniors housing in Saanich
  • New partnership with Beacon Community Services begun with Pandora Thrift Shop
  • 225,000 nutritious meals served to Victorians through Cool Aid’s shelters, seniors housing and Every Step Counts running program
  • 56,000 shelter bed nights provided, serving 1,800 different homeless adults
  • 29,000 health and dental appointments held with Cool Aid’s doctors, nurses, counsellors, dentists, psychiatrists, nutritionist and other health professionals
  • 100 people helped daily through the Community Casual Labour Pool and REES Program mental health and employment services
  • 42,000 prescriptions filled at Cool Aid’s dispensary
  • 256 adults housed in supportive buildings with 24/7 staffing

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for 42 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

Information:               www.CoolAid.org                     www.AccessHealthCentre.ca

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Cathy Stigant, Chair
250- 477-3038, cstigant@telus.net

Documents –

2009-10 Annual Report
Cathy Stigant, Board Chair speech: Hope and Progress 
Kathy Stinson, Executive Director speech: Building Community Together  

2010 AGM Speech – Hope and Progress

Cathy Stigant, Board Chair

Oneness of World – Hearts
The madness of this world
Cannot be conquered
By the sadness or the power
Of the world,
But only by the oneness
Of the world – hearts
From: The Divine Hero by Sri Chinmoy

The Victoria Cool Aid Society, together with its many partners, has been delivering hope for 42 years – hope is about trust, reliance, belief in aspiration, belief in fulfilment. Cool Aid has been at the heart of the community responding to need which provides hope for individuals and families, hope for the community, and hope for a better tomorrow. We do it in partnership with you – our amazing staff, dedicated volunteers, generous donors, community partners and government funders.

Hearts have indeed been opened in Victoria and our Capital Regional District.

Thank you all for coming out today and supporting Cool Aid. It has been a great honour for me to serve as Chair of the Victoria Cool Aid Society.  Thank you so very much for your support, collaboration and confidence in our work.

When I joined Cool Aid’s Board of Directors in 2003, we had an organization that:

  • Employed 120 people
  • Was accountable for a budget of $8 million
  • Managed 149 modest apartments
  • Facilitated emergency shelters accommodation for 70 residents in two locations.

We had recently inherited the small Resources, Education, Employment and Support Centre – REES, a mental health and employment program, and, the Community Health Centre and Dental Clinic were in cramped quarters, sandwiched between the Streetlink shelter and Swift House.

During the last seven years, Cool Aid has made measurable, steady progress in building capacity to meet the needs of our community and thus increase hopefulness for a better tomorrow.  By the end of the year, 2010, our business at Cool Aid will have effectively doubled. Now that gives me great hope!
Today:

  • Our working family consists of 220 employees.
  • Our budget for 2010 is projected at $15 million.
  • While we now house 256 adults, this will grow to 338 upon completion of our current projects.
  • We now provide shelter, meals and help for more than 120 persons per day.
  • Since our move the professionals at Access Health Centre Cool Aid are able to provide direct health care: medical, pharmacological and dental, as well as health care counselling services to hundreds more patients than we could in 2003.
  • We provide employment and mental health services for hundreds each month through the much in demand and very successful REES Program.

Given our proven success and acknowledged expertise, key management of our organization is invited to participate in forums to provide leadership at the local level, as well as provincially and nationally. Cool Aid programs are studied and emulated throughout BC and elsewhere. We frequently tour people from out of town who have come to learn from our program managers and our experience. We are also known as a research leader on housing and homelessness.

Measuring success since 2003 is about increasing our capacity to house people and expand our services. In review, this consists of:

  • Opening Hillside Terrace, Cedar Grove and Desmond House. Thanks to support and funding from BC Housing and VIHA, Cool Aid is now providing supportive housing for 93 more adults, including 45 seniors, who might otherwise be without homes.
  • The Next Steps Transitional Shelter opened with funding from the United Way and BC Housing two years ago. Next Steps provides a great opportunity for 15 shelter residents, at a time, to find market housing, health supports, employment and income.
  • Our REES Program re-located this year to a larger space adjacent to the Access Health Centre, and is now able to help 100 clients every day with their employment and mental health challenges. It is also home to the popular Every Step Counts running program, envisioned and funded by the Victoria Foundation.
  • Together with our partner AIDS Vancouver Island, and thanks to generous funding and donations from the Capital Regional Hospital District, VIHA, the BC Government, many of you here today, and hundreds of others, we opened the Access Health Centre last September.
  • Over 6,000 patients and clients are now receiving care from a team of health care professionals dedicated to our clients.
  • The opening of the Pandora Thrift Shop this year, with the leadership of Beacon Community Services, has provided a great opportunity for our clients to get retail work experience, and created a new source of affordable items downtown, for many on low incomes.

The Cool Aid story, the story of our responding to need in our community, is still being written – and it is a story of positive developments and positive outcomes. Participating as a volunteer on the Board of Cool Aid has been a significant personal commitment for me and for my fellow Board volunteers. Governing the organization is very rewarding work but it is also very frustrating. To see Cool Aid’s proven ability to respond to opportunity and to build capacity has been exciting and satisfying, but to see that our significant increase in capacity can only respond to a small part of the real need is heart wrenching. How frustrating for us all to see growing unmet need on the street, and for our dedicated staff to experience dead end options related to affordable housing when working with people who want to make a change in their lives.

That being said, there is progress being made this year. If you have been in Rock Bay lately, you may have noticed a new beacon of hope for many – the Ellice Street shelter and transitional housing will open in the fall. In addition to 83 shelter beds, Ellice Street will add the first two units of family shelter in Greater Victoria, and an additional 23 modest, transitional apartments for adults looking for permanent housing.

The shelter’s move into the Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood will also make room for 23 new, supportive housing units in downtown Victoria – providing 23 adults with the opportunity for a new life in the old shelter location.

This year will also see the completion of our first housing project in Saanich. Olympic Vista, located on Carey Road, will be Cool Aid’s third seniors building, and will provide a variety of support services for 36 seniors who otherwise might have no home. Olympic Vista will open early next year.

Thank you Saanich and the Capital Regional Hospital District.

The services provided, in partnership with others, saves millions of dollars every year, by reducing the demands on emergency services such as hospital beds, policing, courts, lawyers and emergency room visits. At the same time, hundreds of lives are improved every year and the whole community’s quality of life gets better.

Together with you, our mandate is to house and support those who are homeless; to ensure results on the Capital Region’s homelessness crisis; and to prevent homelessness from occurring in the future.

We have all joined together in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness because we have hope. Because we know that solutions are better, and more cost effective, than the status quo.

Each year since 2003 Cool Aid has been able to take positive steps forward based on the opportunities available– providing new hope for the future. I am immensely proud to have been a part of this organization and the ongoing trust given to us to manage resources and provide services to help individuals facing mental health and addiction challenges, poverty and homelessness.

Given my experience over the last 7 years with Cool Aid, I am incredibly hopeful that together we will end homelessness. It is about having the heart to sustain our commitment, treat everyone in our community with dignity and ensure that there is hope for a better future.

With your help and partnership, we have provided practical hope and support for thousands of the most vulnerable individuals in our community.

You give us hope.

Building Community Together: AGM 2010 Speech

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director

Welcome members, directors, tenants, clients, volunteers, funders, partners, colleagues and friends of Cool Aid. Like my esteemed Chair I too am hopeful. I am hopeful because in spite of the economic uncertainty of the past year we have managed to sustain and grow our service levels while maintaining financial viability. I am hopeful because together with all of you, we are building a better community.

This year we opened the doors to the Access Health Centre, a project that epitomizes building community together. Access has been a collaborative effort from the beginning, starting with the joint purchase of the building at 713 Johnson Street with our partner AIDS Vancouver Island five years ago.

At Access every door is the right door for the 6,000 individuals each year who will utilize the integrated services of Cool Aid’s pharmacy, primary heath and dental clinics; AIDS Vancouver Island’s education and support programs; the Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s Outreach workers; and the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s community support services team.
This wonderful new asset in our community is more than just a better facility from which to deliver services to patients and clients. It is a symbol of hope to our capital region’s vulnerable and homeless citizens, acknowledging that they matter.

I would like to take a moment and thank those who have made the Access Health Centre possible by providing their financial support —- the Capital Regional Hospital District; the Vancouver Island Health Authority; the Province of BC through BC Housing and BC Gaming; the United Way of Greater Victoria; the City of Victoria; the Victoria Foundation; Coast Capital; TELUS and many of you, who are outlined within our annual report. And of course there is still the opportunity to contribute; we need to raise $880,000 by the end of this fiscal year to meet our goal to be mortgage free. Perhaps you or someone you know would like to name the building – one million and the naming rights are yours!

This past year we have watched the construction of the new Ellice Street shelter progress. Staff and clients at Streetlink are excited to see this new facility take shape. In the spirit of building community together our clients have been participating in focus groups to help build a vision for what community will look like within this new purpose built facility in this new neighbourhood. We also continue to work with a neighbourhood stakeholder committee to build a good neighbour agreement that works for all parties – Cool Aid, the city of Victoria, Victoria Police, the Burnside Gorge Community Association and local businesses, residents and service providers.

We found new friends this past year in the Mount View Colquitz Neighbourhood Association. It was so encouraging to hear their representatives speak out positively about Olympic Vista apartments, the supportive housing project that we will be operating as part of a campus of care on the old Mount View School site in Saanich.  We are thankful to Mayor Frank Leonard and the Saanich Council for their leadership in rezoning the whole site to meet a myriad of community needs.  And we are especially grateful to the Capital Regional Hospital District for making the land available. Kudos as well to the Province of BC and BC Housing for ensuring that the modular units that will become Olympic Vista were built to have a lasting legacy.

We are so pleased that our capacity to provide supportive housing continues to grow. This spring we began the preliminary work necessary to transform the old Streetlink shelter space into supportive housing. Thanks to BC Housing and the City of Victoria, Swift House, Cool Aid’s first housing development, will expand its capacity by 23 units. By early 2011, Cool Aid‘s housing program will be providing safe, supportive homes to 315 individuals who might otherwise be homeless.

If we are to be truly successful at ending homelessness in our community it will be the result of all of us working together in a coordinated fashion. This past year we continued to be active participants in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, with staff representatives on all of its major working groups.  We fully support the strategic goals and business plans of the Coalition; indeed we believe that the Coalition is the embodiment of building community together and its success in ending homelessness will be the whole community’s success.

Victoria Cool Aid Society is built on a solid foundation which has allowed us to expand our capacity year over year to better serve the needs of our clients and our community. Cool Aid has a continuous improvement approach at all levels of the organization — strategic, operational, and service delivery. We look for the positive and celebrate incremental successes. Within this culture of hope there is no failure, only opportunities for learning and growth.

As in previous annual reports we have included a brief report card on performance, a prelude to our more detailed Annual Report Card. Our balanced scorecard methodology illustrates our commitment to an integrated way of monitoring and improving organizational performance and charting our milestones and achievements.

The work we do at Cool Aid is important but it would not be possible or sustainable without the support of many organizations and individuals.  It truly is about building community together. So to all of our supporters – funders, donors, volunteers and advocates – please accept our very heartfelt thanks.

Thank you as well to our fellow service providers with whom we work in partnership and to our neighbours who so graciously support us.

I would also like to thank our board of directors for their continued leadership and good governance.  We are losing some key individuals this year so I would like to offer particular thanks to Peter Lockie, Vic Murray, and Bernie Pauley – both the organization and I have benefited enormously from your guidance and support.

A special thanks to my colleagues, the management team of Cool Aid, with whom I work so closely. Thank you for the passion you bring to your programs and your diligence in ensuring that meeting the needs of our clients, patients and tenants is always the number one priority.

Finally I would like to thank our amazing staff group – we have over 220 employees and they are all community builders. Their tools are respect and acceptance and compassion and it is their daily dedication and commitment to the work of providing shelter, housing and health supports to our community’s most vulnerable citizens that is at the core of Cool Aid’s success.

Thank you.

Swift House to Expand / More Shelter Spaces

$4.25 Million for Supportive Housing Options in Victoria

June 30, 2010 – Victoria – BC Government News Release – The Province is investing $4 million to expand Cool Aid’s Swift House and $257,600 to provide additional emergency shelter spaces for the City of Victoria over the next four months, Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman announced today.

“Our government is working with municipal and community partners to support economic growth and create innovative housing options,” said Coleman. “We are delivering on our commitment to the City of Victoria to provide three new supportive housing developments valued at more than $28 million so that people at risk of homelessness can forge a path towards a healthy, independent future.”

“Ending homelessness is a top priority for the City of Victoria, and supportive housing projects, like Swift House, are an important step in reaching that goal,” said Victoria Mayor and co-chair for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness Dean Fortin. “This project is evidence of what can be accomplished when everyone comes to the table with something to offer, bringing community together to make life better for everyone.”

The expansion of Cool Aid’s Swift House, located at 1634 Store St., will create approximately 20 to 23 new supportive housing apartments. Two other sites are currently under construction as part of an agreement between the Province and City of Victoria: 950 Humboldt St. and 535 Ellice St. Once complete, Cool Aid’s new shelter beds at Ellice Street will replace the existing Streetlink shelter, which will close and be turned into new apartments for Swift House.

“Knowing that the funding for the construction is now secure is very good news,” said Kathy Stinson, executive director for Victoria Cool Aid Society. “It takes a range of housing and support services to break the cycle of homelessness, and the ability to expand Swift House for more supportive apartments will be a significant addition to the resources we have available in our community.”

The 85 new emergency shelter spaces will be housed at three locations around the City of Victoria. They will be available from July 1–Oct. 31, 2010. The funding of $257,600 from the Province is the result of co-operation between community partners.

To help provide support services, AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) has also agreed to reallocate some existing services to help street homeless and those with substance abuse issues. As part of this change, two outreach workers and an addiction support worker will offer basic short-term interventions aimed at preventing the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases.

Outreach services are offered seven days a week, while the addiction support services are offered Monday to Friday. These support services are based out of the Streetlink shelter. People in need will be connected with other health and social services for more extensive care as required.

“Together with the Victoria Cool Aid Society that operates Streetlink, we’ve prepared a service plan to ensure the integrated supports will be suitable for those who need them. Resources like these will make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Marilyn Callahan, board chair, AIDS Victoria Island.

In 2010-11, B.C.’s budget for social housing is approximately $562 million, more than four times as much as in 2001.

“Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness” is a website providing a comprehensive and detailed look at provincial programs and services to address homelessness. Visit www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle for more information.


 

BACKGROUNDER

PROVINCIAL HOUSING CONTRIBUTIONS TO VICTORIA SINCE 2001

 

Provincial Housing Investments in Victoria

Today’s announcement is part of the Province’s significant investment in housing in Victoria since 2001, as part of the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC.

Highlights include:

New Supportive Housing

  • More than $28 million has been allocated for three sites through a 2008 agreement between the Province and the City of Victoria, creating approximately 170 new apartments and shelter beds to alleviate homelessness.
  • The Province has funded three additional housing developments since 2006 to address homelessness in Victoria:
    • $8.2 million in capital funding for Our Place, a five-storey development with 45 transitional housing apartments, meal services for the tenants and the homeless, a daytime drop-in centre and support services.
    • $5.8 million to purchase the Gorge Waterway Apartments, with 49 units of supportive housing operated by the Pacifica Housing Advisory Association.
    • $87,000 capital improvement grant for renovations to a house to create a six-bed residential addictions treatment facility called Beacon of Hope, for males aged 13-18.

Single Room Occupancy Hotel and Affordable Housing Acquisitions

  • The Province spent $1.2 million to purchase Desmond House (Pandora Hotel), a 28-room SRO now operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society with support services.
  • In addition, the Province spent $4.8 million to purchase two apartment buildings, with a total of 46 apartments, to provide affordable housing with support services:
    • $2.1 million for Magdelaine Court, with 19 units of supportive housing operated by the Cridge Centre for the Family.
    • $2.7 million for Queen’s Court, with 27 units of supportive housing operated by Pacifica Housing Advisory Association.
  • A 10-bed rooming house located 1729 Oak Bay Avenue was purchased and renovated for nearly $870,000 to provide services to people with mental health and addictions issues and is operated by Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Emergency Shelters and Homeless Outreach

  • 85 temporary shelter beds are being added at three Victoria locations:
    • Fifteen additional beds for men and women will be at Cool Aid’s Streetlink shelter at 1634 Store St. The beds will be available 24/7 with provision of full support services provided to the year-round beds.
    • Forty mats will be at the Church of Saint John the Divine at 1611 Quadra St. It will be operated by Cool Aid as a low-barrier shelter available to men, women, couples and their pets. It will be open from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
    • 30 mats for men will be at the Salvation Army Chapel at 525 Johnson St. It will be open from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. and provide breakfast.
  • There are currently just over 140 year-round emergency shelter beds funded by the Province in Victoria, receiving annual funding of approximately $4.7 million.
  • Most are now open 24/7 to offer better services and access to more permanent forms of housing and support.
  • Approximately $275,000 in annual funding is provided through the Homeless Outreach Program, so outreach workers with non-profit societies can connect people who are street-homeless to housing and support services.
  • Nearly 1,000 street homeless in Victoria have been provided with stable housing options since the outreach services were introduced in 2006.
  • Earlier this year the Province provided a one-time grant of $60,000 for the Our Place drop-in centre, allowing it to open two hours earlier each weekday morning.

Existing Affordable Housing

  • Approximately $3.1 million is being spent on social housing renovations in Victoria, to improve some of the older of the 4,800 provincially subsidized units in Victoria that receive approximately $18.6 million in funding every year.
  • These 4,800 provincially-subsidized units include 175 low-income working family households who receive monthly subsidies of approximately $350 each for private market rental housing through the Rental Assistance Program.
  • Also included are nearly 800 seniors’ households who receive monthly subsidies of approximately $150 each for private market rental housing through the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) program.

 

VICTORIA COOL AID SOCIETY

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and mental health services and a casual labour pool for adults who are homeless or in need of help.

AIDS VANCOUVER ISLAND (AVI)

AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) is a community-based AIDS Service Organization serving the needs of people infected and affected by HIV and hepatitis C. AVI provides education, advocacy and support, and conducts outreach, working with a wide-range of populations from men who have sex with men, to people who use drugs by injection, the homeless, Aboriginal people, and women. AIDS Vancouver Island has served is a vital component of the effort against HIV/AIDS since 1986.

-30-

Media contacts:

Rachel Nelken
BC Housing
778-452-2719
604-505-8428 (cell)

Katie Josephson
City of Victoria
250-217-8343 (cell)

Kathy Stinson
Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-383-1977

Andrea Langlois
AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca. 

Working together to Develop Summer Emergency Shelter and Support

The Downtown Service Providers (DSP) are pleased to announce that a summer emergency service plan will be moving forward to offer shelter and services from July to October, 2010. These services will fill an identified gap in services that has left many of our city’s most vulnerable with limited options for support, and has resulted in disruptions on Victoria’s streets.

We commend the Province of BC for their swift response to the request for funding support – the Province’s commitment of $257,600 to this initiative will allow the plan to be implemented in the coming week.

This plan is the result of several emergency meetings held by the DSP over the past three weeks in response to the shared concerns among residents, businesses, and the DSP (which includes the Police, the City and VIHA as members) at the limited options for shelter and services for marginalized people over the summer.

The end of “extreme weather” seasonal shelters at the end of April resulted in a loss of 70 mats and 15 beds for people without housing. Furthermore, the warmer weather and longer days have brought more of the people we serve into the street, with limited access to shelter and health and support services, especially in the evening hours.

The DSP gathered to brainstormed strengths and opportunities within our own organizations or within the larger community that might help us to positively affect the situation. It was noted that a significant amount of new housing that is targeted for the chronically homeless will be coming on stream within  the next three to eight months – in all over 250 units (including the 120 market units attached to Streets to Homes)  – and that seasonal shelter beds should be in effect again by November.

The DSP then proposed a plan that combines services with shelter as a solution to alleviate the pressures faced by our community. This includes re-opening seasonal shelter beds and providing evening support programming. With funding secured, the DSP is committed to working with all of its members and partners, as well as the larger community, as we all work together to implement this plan and continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns in our community.

Information:

Rev. Al Tysick
Chair, Downtown Service Providers
(250) 388-7112 x 239


DOWNTOWN SERVICE PROVIDERS COMMITTEE

DIRECT MEMBERS

AIDS Vancouver Island
Action Committee for People with Disabilities
Oasis Society
Our Place Society
Pacifica Housing
The Salvation Army
Together Against Poverty Society
Vancouver Island Persons with Aids Society
Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Service
Victoria Cool Aid Society
Victoria Native Friendship Centre
Victoria Youth Empowerment Society
VIHA, Mental Health and Addictions Programs
YMCA/YWCA

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

City of Victoria, Sustainability Department
Downtown Victoria Business Association
Downtown Victoria Residents Association
Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
The Church of St. John the Divine
United Way of Greater Victoria
Victoria Police Department

CHAIR – Rev Al Tysick

Cool Aid 2009-10 Annual Reports Available Online

Victoria Cool Aid Society is pleased to make the following documents available online for the 2009-10 fiscal year:

As well, you can download previous years’ annual reports on these pages.

This story provided courtesy of Shaw TV Victoria. Find this story and more on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

Low-Barrier Access to Health Care for Victoria

Active ImageJuly 28, 2010 – Dr. Chris Fraser – The Times-Colonist recently reported on emerging research concerning health care for the homeless.  This research sought to determine the reasons why individuals experiencing homelessness would have unmet health needs with Canada’s universal health care system.

As a physician specializing in inner-city medicine at Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre, I work as part of a health care team to provide a medical home for the homeless and marginalized in Victoria.

The Toronto study by Dr. Stephen Hwang and researchers with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health suggests possible strategies to reduce the barriers these populations face in accessing health care, including special programs that provide primary care for homeless populations, and health care services that are non-stigmatizing towards those experiencing homelessness, and the experiences that often accompany homelessness, such as abuse, violence, substance use and mental illnesses.

At the Health Centre that is exactly what we do. Cool Aid provides health care and social services for over 4,000 people by providing a unique approach to inner-city medicine that emphasizes low-barrier access to interdisciplinary primary health care services for economically vulnerable clients with complex medical needs and multiple barriers to accessing care.

Cool Aid’s interdisciplinary approach means, as a doctor, I am one member of a team that also includes nurses, counsellors, psychiatrists, a pharmacist and pharmacy technician, dentists and dental hygienist, and a nutritionist and acupuncturist.  A patient may see several different health providers in a single visit. As well, our clients can access services of AIDS Vancouver Island, Victoria Native Friendship Centre and VIHA – all located at the Access Health Centre.

When a patient enters the Access Health Centre they may be seeking treatment for a single presenting issue, however, their health care needs are likely much more complex. Our practice is specially designed to treat high numbers of patients with severe mental health conditions, problematic substance use, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Treatment plans can be complex where patients could be active in the sex trade, living in situations that compromise hygiene and self-care, living with current or historical trauma and abuse, and a myriad of concurrent issues that define homeless individuals’ vulnerability and wellness.  As a doctor I cannot effectively treat a patient’s symptoms without also addressing the complex barriers and health needs that defines effective health care for the homeless.

A homeless person may feel just as uncomfortable walking into a mainstream doctor’s office or even emergency department as many of us would feel walking into Cool Aid’s emergency shelters or eating at a drop-in centre or food bank.

The Access Health Centre’s low-barrier approach means that our services are dedicated to serving the homeless and other vulnerable individuals. We are ready to treat individuals without health care coverage, people who may not be able to pay for necessary prescriptions or dental care, those who may be considered disruptive or unwanted in other settings, and those who may struggle with keeping appointments.

Low barrier health care also means taking our services beyond the front desk. The Health Centre outreach team takes our services to where people are located – whether on the streets, in other social agencies, in the drop-in centres, shelters or in their homes.

The Access Health Centre is an integral part of the health care system as we provide a unique, targeted service to populations with complex health care needs and both financial and non-financial barriers to accessing care elsewhere.  Our services relieve pressure on other health services and have demonstrated an ability to greatly reduce this population’s use of costly and often inappropriate emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

Ending homelessness in Victoria includes providing a medical home for those experiencing homelessness and those able to become housed.  Just as research is demonstrating that it is cheaper to house people than leave them homeless, it is also showing that it is more cost effective to provide a medical home to the homeless than not.

The Access Health Centre, open at 713 Johnson Street since last September, still requires $880,000 to finish paying for the $5.3 million reconstruction costs of opening up the 15,000 square foot, shared facility. Million dollar contributions have been provided by the Capital Regional Hospital District and VIHA.

By providing health care for those who are homeless and marginalized we are playing an integral role in our health care system and in ending homelessness.

Dr. Chris Fraser is the Medical Director of the Cool Aid Community Health Centre, an interdisciplinary practice in Victoria’s inner city.  The Access Health Center works with complex populations dealing with chemical dependency, mental health, unstable housing, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.  

Ending Homelessness in 140 Characters

Cool Aid is now on Twitter @VicCoolAid. For those of you who are not yet Twitter-literate, that means you can see all our latest news (and those of our friends and allies) at www.Twitter.com/VicCoolAid. Follow us today or check in from time to time.

You can also subscribe to Cool Aid by RSS at www.CoolAid.org/rss, or the old fashioned way, by going to our home page anytime: www.CoolAid.org.

You can choose from all our feeds at www.CoolAid.org/feeds and also get an email subscription online.
Active Image

Twitter ‘ya later!

Shelter staff walk to help clients with HIV/AIDS

Please join with the staff of Victoria Cool Aid Society’s emergency shelters to support people in our community suffering from HIV/AIDS in this year’s Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life. We work at Streetlink Emergency Shelter, Sandy Merriman House, Next Steps and the Divine Intervention. We also work closely with VARCS and AIDS Vancouver Island and will be supporting both organizations and our clients living with HIV.

Join or support the Cool Aid team online!

Active Image

The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life is a project of the Canadian AIDS Society in partnership with the British Columbia Persons with AIDS Society, AIDS Committee of Toronto, and community-based AIDS organizations across Canada.

 

Join us!

When: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 @ 6 pm
Where: City of Victoria, Centennial Square

Support us: Donate Online

CITY-STREET-CHURCH Conference Devoted to Social Issues

Over the past several months, local and provincial government agencies have announced millions of dollars in funding for social housing and other initiatives aimed at eliminating homelessness on Victoria’s streets.  And yet, as the headlines above show, a sad reality continues to display itself daily in the downtown core, especially on Pandora Avenue.

It’s a reality that appalls residents and visitors, annoys neighbouring businesses and taxes the resources of police and emergency services.

Is it fair to ask: Could better co-ordination among governments, police and social aid agencies, including downtown churches, produce a healthier downtown environment?

St. John the Divine Anglican, a downtown church that operates a food bank and overnight shelter close to Pandora Avenue, believes it could.

“A healthier downtown is important to any community and faith communities have a key role to play,” says Rev. Harold Munn, the Rector of St. John the Divine. “There is potential in Victoria to build on existing relationships between faith communities and civic society and to build a stronger foundation for future work together.”

To that end, St. John the Divine is sponsoring a conference on September 10 and 11 to explore how government, service providers and city faith communities can enhance their collaboration in the delivery of anti-poverty and homelessness programs in the city.

The conference, called “City-Street-Church” will bring together high-profile members of government, front-line service agencies and faith community representatives in an effort to improve the quality of life in Victoria’s urban core.

The conference is being held at St. John the Divine as part of the church’s 150th anniversary celebrations this year.

 

City-Street-Church  –  Conference Agenda

Keynote speakers for the conference are:

  • Andrew Hutchison, Archbishop and former Anglican Primate
  • Murray Coell, B.C. Minister of Labour
  • Susan Brice, Saanich Councillor and former B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Human Resources and former Mayor of Oak Bay.

Friday Evening, Sept. 10 – Welcome & Keynote Address

The conference will be opened Friday, Sept. 10, by the Honorable Ted Hughes, and James Cowan the local Anglican Bishop. The first keynote address will be given by Anglican Archbishop and former Primate Andrew Hutchison, who will speak about his experiences collaborating with civic and political leaders while he was Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Montreal.

Saturday Morning, Sept. 11 – Panel Discussion: ‘Street Stories’

On Saturday morning, attendees will hear accounts from the police, business community and aid agencies that illustrate how collaboration can assist in improving the health of our city. Special attention will be paid to the current level of collaboration and co-operation among the various agencies. A panel discussion follows. Featured panelists in this session include:

  • Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Councillor, City of Victoria
  • Bernie Pauly, Assistant Professor, Univ. of Victoria School of Nursing
  • Jo-Ann Roberts, Host, All Points West, CBC Radio, Victoria

Saturday Afternoon, Sept. 11 – Panel Discussion: ‘The Way Ahead’

In the afternoon, panelists representing key players will develop a plan for improving program delivery through enhanced collaboration.  Featured panelists in this session include:

  • John Ducker, Deputy Chief, Victoria Police Services
  • Rev. Brenda Nestegaard-Paul, Downtown Churches Association
  • Gregor Craigie,  Host, On the Island, CBC Radio, Victoria

Conference Close – Plenary Address

The conference will close will a plenary address by the present Anglican Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who will present his impressions of the way forward.

 

Who Should Attend?

Anyone involved with government policy and/or social service provision.  Although the conference discussion will focus on downtown Victoria, ministers and members of faith communities from throughout the region are invited, as are other interested members of the public and the media. Registration for the conference is required by 7 September. Registration fee of $30 includes a working supper Friday evening and a working lunch on Saturday.

 

Contact Information

The Rev. Canon Dr. Harold Munn, Rector
or The Rev. Michael Hemmings, Assistant Priest
St. John the Divine Anglican Church
1611 Quadra St., Victoria, B.C.
Phone: (250) 383-7169
Email:      harold.munn@stjohnthedivine.bc.ca or admin@stjohnthedivine.bc.ca
Website: www.stjohnthedivine.bc.ca

Moores Canadian Suit Drive

Active ImageSeptember 2010 – The Victoria Cool Aid Society invites you to donate gently used professional attire at any Moores Clothing for Men store in September.

Your gently used professional clothing can help an unemployed neighbour find housing and a job. As a thank you for your donation Moores will provide you with a 25% discount coupon. Your clothing will be given away through Cool Aid’s Casual Labour Pool.

Moores outlets can be found here:

  • 3531 Blanshard Street, 250-475-1165
  • Unit 184, 2495 Jacklin Road, 250-380-9334

For more information visit www.CoolAid.org/labour or call 250-383-1977.

Together we will end homelessness.


Information:               www.canadiansuitdrive.com

Kathy Stinson, Victoria Cool Aid Society, 250-383-1977

Rebecca Webster, Moores Clothing for Men, (416) 642-7975

Province Invests $2.5 M Toward Housing Victoria Homeless

BC Government News Release – September 8, 2010 – Victoria – The Province is investing $2.5 million in two former Traveller’s Inn motels to provide more affordable housing options for people in Victoria who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, announced Ida Chong, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, on behalf of Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development.

“Our government is committed to providing a range of affordable housing options that meet the diverse needs of people facing the reality of homelessness while preserving existing rental stock,” said Chong. “We are delivering on our commitment with this investment by collaborating with municipal and community partners on these two properties.”

“Ending homelessness is a top priority for the City of Victoria. Converting these hotels into affordable housing for our residents in greatest need is a step forward in strengthening our community and making life better for everyone,” said Victoria Mayor and co-chair for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Dean Fortin.

The $2.5 million investment will be allocated to two Traveller’s Inn sites at 710 Queens Ave. and 120 Gorge Rd. and will provide approximately 75 affordable rental units for people in Victoria who are at risk of homelessness. The Gorge Rd. site will be renovated to provide approximately 39 one-bedroom apartments for Aboriginal people living off-reserve and the Queens Ave. site will be renovated to provide approximately 36 studio apartments.

This funding is in addition to the more than $28 million in provincial funding that has been allocated for three sites through a 2008 agreement between the Province and the City of Victoria, creating approximately 170 new apartments and shelter beds to alleviate homelessness. Two of the sites are already under construction: 950 Humboldt Street and 535 Ellice Street. Once complete, the shelter beds at Ellice Street will replace the existing Streetlink shelter, which will be redeveloped into new supportive apartments at Swift House.

In 2010-11, B.C.’s budget for social housing is approximately $562 million, more than four times as much as in 2001.

Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness is a website providing a comprehensive and detailed look at provincial programs and services to address homelessness. Visit www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle for more information.

Access Health Centre Celebrates First Year of Service

Active ImageVictoria – October 12, 2010 – After a full year of service at their new location at 713 Johnson Street in the Access Health Centre, partners Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver (AVI) have much to celebrate. Together, well over 1,500 more persons are receiving respectful and effective health care and social services than could be served at the old locations. As well, a range of improved services, from group medicine to 8,000 nutritious meals for Victoria’s most marginalized citizens, have been possible with the new space and equipment.

“We knew that Access would mean an improvement in people’s lives,” said Irene Haigh-Gidora, manager of community health services for Cool Aid. “But we underestimated the additional number of people we would be able to serve and are pleased with the positive synergies of several agencies providing complementary services under one roof.”

A complete services and statistics summary is found in the enclosed materials. Here are a few facts from the first year of operation at the Access Health Centre:

  • 510 new patients welcomed at the Cool Aid Community Health Centre
  • 76 new volunteers helping deliver AIDS Vancouver Island programs
  • 5,301 dental encounters at the Cool Aid Dental Clinic (up 1,570 over last year)
  • 20 AVI support groups and workshops monthly; focussed on prevention and health programming
  • 34,677 medical and dental encounters in the first year of operation (up 5,638)
  • 8,000 nutritious meals served at the AVI café

Today, Access Health Centre services include:

  • AIDS Vancouver Island’s harm reduction, prevention, education and support services, including management for services in Nanaimo, Campbell River and Port Hardy
  • Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre, Dental Clinic and pharmacy
  • (delivering comprehensive primary health care)
  • Housing and addictions counsellors with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre
  • VIHA’s home support services for persons with mental illness and addictions
  • GV Coalition to End Homelessness’ Streets to Homes programs, helping people who are homeless to obtain and stay in apartments

A series of short Fact Sheets and articles are available online outlining the enhanced services and the state of the fundraising campaign:

$4.4 million of the $5.3 million cost to provide these enhanced services has been provided through contributions by government, the project partners, foundations, business and individuals ($880,000 remains to complete the fundraising campaign). Details enclosed.

The Access Health Centre is a one-stop health and social services building downtown serving over 6,000 people struggling with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.  Access is a joint project of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, and cost $5.3 million to reconstruct the heritage building at 713 Johnson Street. Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, education and harm reduction; mental health, dental, pharmaceutical and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable; and assistance for people to obtain and stay in housing.

For more information please visit AccessHealthCentre.ca .

– 30 –

Information:        AccessHealthCentre.ca

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-385-1466
www.CoolAid.org/health

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366
www.avi.org

Email Lists: Monthly or Breaking News

For Email Newsletters you can trust

Get Cool Aid information delivered once a month right to your email box. There are two email lists to choose from. Pick one or both:

  1. Cool Aid Monthly Notes – delivered not more than 12 times per year, Monthly Notes keeps you updated on the many services Cool Aid is providing in the community.
  2. News List – this list provides more frequent emails and is recommended primarily for journalists, editors, news junkies and Cool Aid fans who want to stay well informed about our activities and breaking news.

You can also follow Cool Aid on TwitterYouTube,  RSS and other feeds.

Victoria builder and homeless advocate Herman Rebneris dies

Victoria – Darron Kloster – timescolonist.com – October 29, 2010 – Herman Rebneris, a builder and advocate who tirelessly fought to end homelessness and championed affordable housing for families and seniors in Greater Victoria for more than four decades, lost a five-year battle with kidney cancer this week. [Herman was also a tireless volunteer for Victoria Cool Aid Society.]

Rebneris died on Tuesday at Royal Jubilee Hospital with Vicki, his wife of 46 years, and three children at his side. He was 68.

Active Image

Herman Rebneris, seen here in 2006, with a model of Cool Aid’s FairWay Woods apartments in Langford, built more than 1,000 affordable housing units in the capital region, including this building.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

“Herman was a man of action. He was an organizer. And he worked hard to make the community as a whole a better place for young people, seniors, for those less fortunate and those on hard times,” said Casey Edge, executive director of Victoria’s Canadian Homebuilders Association, a group that honoured Rebneris with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 for his breadth of work across the region.

“It’s a big loss for so many people and we will all miss him.”

Vicki Rebernis said her husband fought a brave battle against his cancer, keeping the disease a secret for three years before his health started to fail. He was also a “rock” for Vicki, who had breast cancer diagnosed in October 2008.

Herman insisted on attending the CHBA Care Awards ceremony this month. The week before he died, he attended a three-hour meeting of the Capital Regional District’s Housing Action Team, a regional group advocating affordable housing units. “That’s what kept Herman going — homeless people, families and youth were some of the most important things to him,” Vicki Rebneris said in an interview. “Herman always said ‘There’s never a problem that doesn’t have a solution.’ He lived by that.”

Rebneris built more than 1,000 affordable housing units in the capital with the company he co-founded, Cottage Grove Contracting Ltd., and was most proud of the projects he completed for the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

He was an active member of the Oak Bay Kiwanis Club and developed the Kiwnis Pavilion, a 120-bed extended care facility built on his parent’s property on Cedar Hill Road.

He also built dozens of commercial projects, was a lead advocate of fixing the leaky condos across the province and was an early adapter of industry dismantle and recycling programs. He was active with Habitat for Humanity, helped to establish the Professional Builders’ Institute, which raises the bar for workmanship in the residential building industry and protects consumers, and was a key player in promoting the building trades with youth.

As part of a youth employment project fundraiser and to bring awareness to people living without shelter, Rebneris — then president of the Canadian Homebuilders Association — spent a night on the streets of the city’s downtown in November 1999. “They are just people trying to get by, find a way of life” and sometimes they just need a place to start, he said afterwards.

Rebneris’s harsh beginnings had a lot to do with his compassion for the homeless.

He was born in Schlawe, in German-occupied Poland on March 14, 1942 in a displaced persons camp, shortly after his family fled Lithuania. The first seven years of his life were spent in various camps before immigrating to Saltspring Island through the federal government’s Displaced Persons sponsorship program, where he and his family worked as farmhands. The family left Saltspring for Victoria after fulfilling a two-year obligation and settled on a one-acre parcel on Cedar Hill Road.

Rebneris, known for his strong work ethic, was proud of the fact he was never unemployed. His first paying job was delivering newspapers for the Daily Colonist. He worked several jobs simultaneously while at school including, farming, delivering pies for Paul’s Restaurant, gas stations and later the B.C. Forest Products plywood mill.

His big break into building was as an apprentice draughtsman with John DiCastri Architects, where Rebneris worked on several projects including the Crystal Pool. In 1973 he started his own business, contracting to architects in Victoria to provide inspection and construction management work.

That got Rebneris into the building and development sector, where his passion leaned to supportive and social housing projects.

He sat on several municipal committees that focused on affordable housing and homelessness.

“The thing about Herman was, he was always there. He always had the time,” said veteran Victoria builder Ron Egli, current president of the Canadian Homebuilders Association. “It’s hard to go to meetings when you have 13 municipalities, but he did.

“He was a great human being, and he changed things. Herman always had good humour and he had the respect of everyone. It’s a big loss for us because he always worked to make things better.”

Edge noted that Rebneris “probably had the biggest email list in the world.” He was the ultimate communicator, said Edge, “and that’s how he got things done.”

His generosity was well known and widespread, said Vicki Rebneris. “During the blizzard of 1996, he spent three days on the bulldozer plowing out everyone’s road and driveways. That’s the kind of guy he was. If he could help, he would.”

Rebneris is survived by his wife Vicki, and children; Richard (Shelley), Dean (Chika) and Krista (Marco) Rossato; six grandchildren aged 10 months to 10 years; and his brother, John Birthe.

A memorial will be held at the Union Club, 805 Gordon St. on Monday at 1 p.m. with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the CRD Housing Action Team, care of the CRD Housing Secretariat, 625 Fisgard Street, Victoria.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

 


Herman Rebneris was also a great friend of Victoria Cool Aid Society. In addition to building FairWay Woods and Johnson Manor , Herman was a hard-working volunteer who helped at many events and took photographs and videos for Cool Aid and many other organizations. He will be sadly missed by everyone at Cool Aid.

Cool Aid Opens Rock Bay Landing and Queens Manor

October 29, 2010 – The Victoria Cool Aid Society, with support from BC Housing, is moving the services from the Streetlink emergency shelter at 1634 Store Street to the new Rock Bay Landing facility at 535 Ellice Street on Wednesday, November 3. No residents will lose their bed during the transition – they will sleep at Streetlink on November 2 and sleep at Rock Bay on November 3. To enable staff to complete the move, drop-in services will not be available from November 1-3.

The new, purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility offers many improvements including:

  • 84 permanent shelter beds; up from 80 at Streetlink.
  • 23 new units of transitional housing will be available starting in mid-November.
  • Two units of family shelter are available – the first in the Capital Region.
  • There is expanded space for 20 shelter mats during extreme weather conditions.

Plus many more improvements:

  • A card lock system and lockers for each resident will allow almost 24-hour access to their rooms. At Streetlink, room access was restricted to overnight hours only.
  • A large exterior courtyard, accessed through the building, is available for residents and drop-in visitors. No courtyard was available at Streetlink.
  • There is a day storage service available for non-residents and carts can be accommodated on site.
  • Washrooms, showers, laundry, training workshops, computer access, kitchen and dining facilities are greatly improved.
  • Additional rooms allow more opportunities for group work, counselling and client meetings and services.
  • A community policing office is located in the shelter.
  • Rock Bay Landing is built to the highest green standards (LEED GOLD) including solar panels on the roof, heat recovery, superior insulation and much more.
  • Pets are welcomed at Rock Bay Landing.
  • There will be many more volunteer opportunities for community members.

 

Queens Manor Housing –

On November 1, Victoria Cool Aid Society, with assistance from the City of Victoria, BC Housing, Government of Canada and Vancouver Island Health Authority, will be opening “Queens Manor” – a building with 36 units of supportive housing for adults currently without a home. The building, a former Travellers Inn which was purchased by the City of Victoria, is located at 710 Queens Street (corner of Douglas). Sixteen or more adults will move in on November 1, and the rest of the units will be settled during the remainder of November. Single adults, couples and tenants with pets will be accommodated at Queens Manor.

The building will be operated with two Cool Aid housing staff on site 24/7 until the end of January 2011. At that time, renovation work will begin to make the motel rooms better suited for permanent housing. With the assistance of our many partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, we are confident that alternate accommodations will be found for our Queens Manor tenants while the renovation is underway.

Together with the 23 transitional housing units at the new Rock Bay Landing building on Ellice Street, Cool Aid is now operating 315 modest apartments with 24/7 staffing –saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually*. (These savings occur because people who are homeless require significantly more expensive emergency health and justice services, such as hospital beds and emergency room visits, police calls and court appearances.)

Early in 2011, Cool Aid will open, in Saanich, 36 apartments for low-income seniors who might otherwise be without housing, at the new Olympic Vista building. Later in the year, an additional 23 modest apartments will be opened at Swift House, in the renovated space vacated by the old Streetlink emergency shelter.

This year marks a significant step forward for many people without homes in the Capital Region and for the whole community. Cool Aid thanks its partners without whom none of this would be possible, including: BC Housing and the Province of British Columbia, Vancouver Island Health Authority, City of Victoria, CRHD – all partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness – as well as VANOC and many generous individuals, foundations and businesses.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 42 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, emergency shelter, community health and dental services, employment services, mental health support and recreation and exercise programs for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

Information:    www.CoolAid.org/shelter     www.CoolAid.org/housing

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977

John Crean, Manager of Housing
250-414-4793

Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters
250-383-1951

* Quoting the 2007 City of Victoria’s “Mayor’s Task Force on Breaking the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness”:

“Put simply, if we did nothing to change the system of services and supports, homelessness, mental illness and addictions would cost Victoria’s taxpayers an estimated $50,000 per client per year – a significantly higher cost than the $17,500 to $47,000 per client, per year the Expert Panel estimates is needed to implement the new service delivery model.”

Shelter and Transitional Housing on Ellice Street in Victoria

Background 
Community Consultations
Upcoming Meetings
Links
Contacts

Active Image

Background

The Victoria Cool Aid Society, with funding from the province’s BC Housing, and land supplied by the City of Victoria, is constructing a new, purpose-built, emergency shelter with transitional housing in Burnside Gorge. The new facility will better house and support clients that currently stay at the much smaller Streetlink shelter plus create the region’s first shelter units for homeless families. The May 2008 Land Use Application is available on this web site.

The size and location of the site allows for a purpose-designed building that can achieve three key objectives that the existing, cramped Streetlink facility can no longer provide:

  1. Sufficient space to accommodate all shelter clients within the building, including courtyard space internal to the property.
  2. Provision of support services within the building, such as helping people find work and permanent housing, meaning there will be less activity on the street.
  3. Staff levels that ensure full monitoring and counselling.

The Ellice Street shelter and transitional housing project is just one, small part of a comprehensive regional strategy to end homelessness that includes the concentrated and coordinated efforts of several provincial ministries, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the City of Victoria and social service providers like Cool Aid. Other initiatives include, for example, Our Place transitional housing on Pandora and future projects such as theACCESS Health Centre.

The Mayor’s Task Force expert panel confirmed that permanent, supportive housing is the route to end homelessness, but it also recognized that there will always be a need for emergency shelter space and transitional housing within the continuum of supportive services.

The question has been asked if the Ellice Street location is appropriate for a shelter. The short answer is “yes”. Homeless people already reside in the neighbourhood and in areas beyond. The site was identified by the City as a potential candidate for the homelessness initiative.

Working with the neighbourhood, City staff, Victoria Police and other agencies we can make a difference in people’s lives and also integrate into the neighbourhood. In fact, Cool Aid believes that the new services can improve the neighbourhood environment, as has happened with many of our buildings. (Read, for example, about Cool Aid’s Next Steps Transitional Shelter and the Good Neighbour Agreement that was negotiated as part of its development process or our FairWay Woods supported housing for seniors.)

The project on Ellice Street will provide 80 shelter beds, two family shelter units, 23 self-contained, supportive housing units, plus adequate space for support and transition services. As well, the emergency shelter could provide an additional 20 temporary beds for extreme, winter weather conditions.

The shelter units will be designed so that they can be converted in the future to longer-term housing.

Some have wondered if perhaps the project is too big. If you look at other communities you will find that many successful shelters and transitional housing projects are much larger. There are good, existing examples of how purpose-built shelters can be integrated into a neighbourhood, successfully co-existing with other businesses and activities, such as the Yukon Housing Centre in Vancouver.

We believe that members of the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood, and other Victorians, are caring citizens who know that people who are homeless are not that much different than us – each one of them is somebody’s mother or father, brother or sister, son or daughter, friend, neighbour or acquaintance. It is with this shared understanding in mind that we promise to work with the Burnside Gorge Neighbourhood Association, the immediate neighbours, and others such as Centennial Day Care, to ensure that your concerns are identified and that solutions are found that work for everyone.

Community Consultations

Victoria Cool Aid Society is deeply committed to full and transparent consultations to ensure that this project meets the needs of its neighbours and all Victorians. That is why we participated in a well-attended community meeting on February 18, after BC Housing announced their support for the Ellice Street shelter and transitional housing. At that meeting we listened carefully, and took to heart, the concerns of dozens of residents, businesses and landowners.

An introductory meeting for neighbours was held at Centennial United Church at the end of February, which created a committee to provide input during the planning process. Meetings with this committee and at least one additional neighbourhood meeting will be held in April at the Centennial United Church.

The Burnside Gorge Community Association Land-Use Committee is also involved in the planning process. An official meeting for the community was held on May 12.

The City of Victoria has rezoned the 535 Ellice Street location to allow the construction of the new shelter and transitional housing to take place. Feel free to contact Cool Aid or Victoria City Hall if you want to share your thoughts.

Meeting Documents

Upcoming Meetings

Stay tuned for updates and the date and location of meetings you may wish to attend.

 

Links and Related Stories

BC Housing
City of Victoria news release and rezoning process.
Cool Aid Shelters program
Cool Aid Shelter and Housing Program to Expand

Contacts

If you would like more information on the shelter and transitional housing on Ellice Street, or if you would like to share your thoughts with Cool Aid, please visit our contact page to make a comment, or call 250-383-1977.

At any time in the rezoning process you may also contact the City of Victoria’s Mayor and Council by e-mail, phone (250-385-5711) or written correspondence (1 Centennial Square, Victoria BC, V8W 1P6). You may also contact City Planning Staff by phoning 250-361-0212.

Cool Aid Opens Rock Bay Landing

October 29, 2010 – The Victoria Cool Aid Society, with support from BC Housing, is moving the services from the Streetlink emergency shelter at 1634 Store Street to the new Rock Bay Landing facility at 535 Ellice Street on Wednesday, November 3. No residents will lose their bed during the transition – they will sleep at Streetlink on November 2 and sleep at Rock Bay on November 3. To enable staff to complete the move, drop-in services will not be available from November 1-3.

The new, purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility offers many improvements including:

  • 84 permanent shelter beds; up from 80 at Streetlink.
  • 23 new units of transitional housing will be available starting in mid-November.
  • Two units of family shelter are available – the first in the Capital Region.
  • There is expanded space for 20 shelter mats during extreme weather conditions.
  • A card lock system and lockers for each resident will allow almost 24-hour access to their rooms. At Streetlink, room access was restricted to overnight hours only.
  • A large exterior courtyard, accessed through the building, is available for residents and drop-in visitors. No courtyard was available at Streetlink.
  • There is a day storage service available for non-residents and carts can be accommodated on site.
  • Washrooms, showers, laundry, training workshops, computer access, kitchen and dining facilities are greatly improved.
  • Additional rooms allow more opportunities for group work, counselling and client meetings and services.
  • A community policing office is located in the shelter.
  • Rock Bay Landing is built to the highest green standards (LEED GOLD) including solar panels on the roof, heat recovery, superior insulation and much more.
  • Pets are welcomed at Rock Bay Landing.
  • There will be many more volunteer opportunities for community members.

Cool Aid Public Survey Results Released

May 5, 2011 – In March, local marketing firm McAllister Media conducted an anonymous online survey on behalf of the Victoria Cool Aid Society. We greatly appreciate and thank those 390 people who donated their time by taking the online survey. Due to the small sample size and the self-selection of respondents results are not considered statistically reliable, however they do provide insights into areas for improvement for the Cool Aid Society.

The following key themes are noteworthy (elaborated below):

  • Homelessness affects many people directly
  • Cool Aid is seen as the leading organization providing solutions
  • The public is not very aware that Cool Aid provides permanent housing, mental health services, employment and healthy recreation options
  • People become involved for a variety of reasons and their perceptions often change when they do

26.6% of the general public surveyed believe homelessness has a big impact on them, 32.5% somewhat of an impact, 30.8% a limited impact and only 10.1% stated homelessness had no impact at all. Businesses were even more affected with 43.3% believing homelessness had a big impact on them, 33.3% somewhat of an impact, 16.7% a limited impact and 6.7% no impact  at all.

While the majority of respondents identified Cool Aid as doing more than any other organization locally to tackle the issue of homelessness, many other organizations were seen to be contributing solutions including (in order of ranking): City of Victoria, Our Place, Salvation Army, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Pacifica Housing, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Mustard Seed, United Way and BC Housing.

68% of the general public thought Cool Aid was making a difference while 28.8% were unsure. 44.8% of businesses also felt Cool Aid was making a difference while 41.4% were unsure of the difference being made.

38.5% of general public and businesses were somewhat familiar with Cool Aid, with businesses trending towards very familiar with 31.4% and the general public trending towards familiar with 29%. Over 70% correctly identified that Cool Aid provided emergency shelter, a support network, resources, health care and dental care. 65% identified Cool Aid as a homelessness charity that provided counselling. Respondents were generally not aware that Cool Aid also provides housing (351 units), mental health support, employment services and sports and recreation services at the Downtown Community Centre.

Volunteers donate their time to Cool Aid because 51.6% deeply care about homelessness, 27.4% think it seems like a good idea, 24.2% have strong moral/spiritual beliefs, 11.3% know someone affected, and 11.3% have been affected themselves. Donors make gifts to Cool Aid because 58.8% deeply care about homelessness, 32.5% think it seems like a good idea, 27.5% have strong moral/spiritual beliefs, 11.3% know someone affected, and 3.8% have been affected themselves. Perceptions of the issues have changed for both volunteers (32.2%) and donors (35.5%) since they became involved with Cool Aid.

Survey results will be used to help guide Cool Aid with its communications. A summary of results is enclosed and has also been published at www.CoolAid.org/survey.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, mental health and employment services, and the Downtown Community Centre. Cool Aid focuses its services for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

 

Information:    www.CoolAid.org/survey     www.mcallistermedia.com

The report “2011 Survey Results” by McAllister Media is also available online.

Tracy McAllister, VP + Director of Marketing, McAllister Media
250-380-2299, tracy@mcallistermedia.com

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Cool Aid
250-414-4781, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Jim Byrnes in Cool May Blues for Cool Aid

Thanks to you we raised $3,700 for Cool Aid and Sandy Merriman House for women! A special thanks to the fabulous and energetic volunteer Paula Miller, who organized Cool May Blues, and our generous event sponsors who made a great evening possible:

  • Sysco
  • Proline Management
  • Oscar & Libby’s
  • Alpine Evergreen
  • IP Tech
  • Ferris Oyster Bar
  • Russell Food Equipment
  • Great Spots!
  • Paula Miller
  • Kerry Conrad

Juno Award-winning bluesman Jim Byrnes and Friends, played two amazing sets at Lucky Bar, 517 Yates Street, on Friday, May 27th.

100% of the $3,700 proceeds went to support Sandy Merriman House – Cool Aid’s emergency shelter for women, which will provide nutritious lunches to 45 women for well over a month.

Jim Byrnes Cool May Blues benefit poster

Olympic Vista Opens

June 2011 – Thirty-six seniors are now safely housed with nutritious meals and supports at Olympic Vista – Cool Aid’s first building in Saanich. Many thanks to our generous partners: the Province of BC and BC Housing, Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), Capital Regional Hospital District and District of Saanich.

Olympic Vista sign - Cool Aid senior housing in Saanich

Free Retail Training Course @ Thrift Shop

Eight-week course @ 10 am – 2 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting on Tuesday, Oct 25.

Gain valuable hands on experience while you contribute to your community in the safe, non-judgmental setting of the Beacon – Cool Aid Thrift Shop, 715 Pandora Avenue.

Contact Trish at 250-388-3500.

thrift_shop_sign

You’ll learn all you need to know about:

  • Customer service
  • Using Cash Registers and Interac
  • Personal Growth & Goal Setting
  • Employable Skills
  • Stocking
  • Pricing
  • Work Place Safety and Ethics
  • Job Search
  • Interview Prep
  • Window Dressing

UVic Curates More Art for Access Health Centre

UVic Curates More Art for Access Health Centre

Two Historic Cool Aid Films @ Movie Monday

40 Years of Cool Aid Culture, 2009, 28 min
& Building Futures, 1996, 29 min

When: Monday, June 27 @ 6:30 pm
Where: Eric Martin Theatre, 2328 Trent Street
Cost: by donation

40 Years of Cool Aid Culture DVD coverJune is the 43rd Anniversary of the founding of Cool Aid, an organization that has morphed from it’s beginnings as a stopover for transient young people, to the backbone of Victoria’s helping community.

The films are 40 Years of Cool Aid Culture (28 min), celebrating its history, and Building Futures (29 min) which profiles the construction of Cool Aid’sSandy Merriman House. The innovative project to provide shelter for homeless women was renovated from an existing building, and the work was carried out by women who would actually use the service.

We’ll open with music by the Minds at Work so come early! The films will be followed with a short discussion with people from Cool Aid and updates on its amazing and various projects.

Information: Movie Monday

Trivia: “When Cool Aid started on Balmoral Road, they felt the police would raid the place. It was Hugh Wade’s idea to have a front door key made and delivered to the Police Chief. They said the police could visit at any time but shouldn’t kick down the door, as Cool Aid couldn’t afford to pay for the repairs. They always sent flowers to the Police Chief on Monday.” (pg. 12 of Cool Aid History)

REES Employment & Mental Health Services Temporarily Disrupted

News Release – June 24, 2011 – Concern over potential structural damage in the leased office of Cool Aid’s REES Program led staff and a volunteer to quickly evacuate the premises yesterday at approximately 2 pm. Within minutes large portions of the ceiling collapsed at 707 Johnson Street – the building right next store to the Access Health Centre. No one was hurt.

Staff are doing their best to support clients off site during this transitional period. It is hoped that temporary space will be secured in early July. Clients and service providers may call Cool Aid administration at 250-383-1977 for program and temporary contact information.

The REES Program is appealing to the community for a temporary storefront location of approximately 2,000 square feet downtown to re-locate all of their services. Any property owners, management firms or government offices in a position to help are asked to call Alan Rycroft at the Victoria Cool Aid Society at 250-414-4781. Space, computers and office equipment have been lost and need to be replaced. Cash donations are also needed and may be made online during the postal dispute at www.CoolAid.org/donate, by phone or in person.

Photo of some of the damage at Cool Aid's REES Program

 

REES Program wordmark logo

The REES Program (www.CoolAid.org/rees) is home to a variety of essential services designed to support people in our community who are experiencing challenges with mental health and addictions – to help them in recovery and to build a better quality of life. One hundred to 200 people are helped every weekday. Services include:

  • Community Casual Labour Pool – a free service that connects workers with employers and also with home owners needing help around the home or in the garden. (www.CoolAid.org/labour)
  • Every Step Counts running and walking program. (www.CoolAid.org/esc)
  • Mentoring Program – connecting trained volunteers, for one-year placements, with people in the community who need some friendship and advice.
  • Outreach Support and Peer Links – helping people find employment, housing, income support, health services and a variety of other services.
  • Resource Centre – offering free computer and internet access, phones, photocopier, fax, information resources and other office support to locate housing and jobs and stay in touch with family and friends. (Note: free computer and internet access is also available one block over at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora, www.CoolAid.org/dcc.)
  • The Online Resource Guide remains available at www.CoolAid.org/guide – a searchable database of local resources for people needing help.

Scene after the ceiling collapsed at Cool Aid’s REES Program on Thursday, June 23 (leased premises).

– 30 –
Information:        www.CoolAid.org/rees

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services
250-385-1477

Progress being made in housing for homeless

Coalition_colour_logoJune 28, 2011 – Progress is being in Greater Victoria, as 435 new units of subsidized housing and rent supplements came online during 2010/11. [including 72 new apartments at Cool Aid’s Queens Manor and Olympic Vista]. These were for a variety of people, including seniors, families and people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness. These and other findings were released today by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness (Coalition) in its report Hungry and Homeless in Greater Victoria: Fitting the Pieces Together.

During the same timeframe, 535 people were housed by outreach teams that specialize in working with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. They were housed in a variety of units, including subsidized housing, market units and SROs (single room occupancies).

“We know what needs to happen to solve homelessness in our Region,” Mayor Dean Fortin, co-chair of the Coalition. “Although we are on the right track, we know we need to do more − and do it more quickly.”

Research shows higher shelter usage in Greater Victoria during 2010/11, with 1,958 unique individuals keeping shelters at an average 95% capacity throughout the year. On a single night in February, 1,143 people sought shelter in temporary accommodations.

“It is important to note this is not a homeless count,” says lead researcher Dr. Bernie Pauly of UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC. “This is a point-in-time count that shows us how many people sought shelter on one night. It does not include those sleeping outdoors, couch surfing, or staying in inadequate shelters.”

Four Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams provide outreach to people who primarily have mental illness and/or substance use issues. At admission, 41% of clients were housed and 59% were homeless. After six months, 89% were housed and only 11% remained homeless.

Hungry and Homeless also reports that 18,500 households are experiencing hunger, while 18,305 live in core housing need. Core housing need is when a household lives in housing that requires major repair, is overcrowded, or required more than 30% of the household income for rent or mortgage.

“Progress is being made, but there is still much to do,” Fortin says. “With innovation, partnership, and dedicated funding to create more affordable housing, we can achieve our vision of ending homelessness.”

Both Hungry and Homeless in Greater Victoria: Fitting the Pieces Together and the Coalition’s 2010/11 Annual Report can be found on the Coalition website: www.solvehomelessness.ca

Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is a partnership of local service providers, non-profit organizations, all levels of government, business and the faith community. The Coalition’s vision is to end homelessness in the Capital Region by 2018.

Centre for Addictions Research of BC is an official independent research center at the University of Victoria. CARBC is dedicated to research and knowledge exchange on substance use, harm reduction and addiction.

− 30 –
Media contact:

Maggie Kerr-Southin
Communications and Planning Specialist
Maggie.ks@solvehomelessness.ca
250-370-1506

Debbie Thompson
Executive Director
250-370-1512

REES Program Relocated to 823 Broughton

July 11, 2011 – After the partial collapse of a ceiling at the REES Program on Johnson Street, Cool Aid’s support program for people managing mental health and/or addiction challenges has been relocated to 823 Broughton Street (the other half of the old C-FAX building). Today is the first day of operations at the new location, which is owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Phone service is expected to resume later in the week; in the meantime calls may be directed to Cool Aid’s switchboard at 250-383-1977.

rees-logo-colourREES office hours will continue to be Monday-Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm, except on Wednesdays when closed from 12 to 1 pm. (The regular phone numbers are 250-595-8619 for REES and 250-388-9296 for the Labour Pool.)

REES Programs are currently running at about 75% functionality with no incoming phone line and only two client computers. The Labour Pool is open and using a mobile phone to conduct business. Outreach and Peer Support are business-as-usual and we are assisting clients as best as we can.

The new address is 823 Broughton Street between the Royal Theatre and the YM/YWCA, and across from the News Group. See the location in Google Maps.

Cool Aid continues to ask the community for quality office furniture, office equipment, computers and printers to replace those damaged in the incident. Charitable receipts can be issued for non-cash contributions. Anyone in a position to help is asked to call Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781.

Cash donations are welcomed and may be made online, by calling 250-414-4781, or by mailing a cheque to: Victoria Cool Aid Society, 102-749 Pandora, Victoria BC, V8W 1N9.

– 30 –

Information:        www.CoolAid.org/rees 

Lori Ferguson, REES Program Coordinator
250-383-1977, lferguson@CoolAid.org

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services
250-385-1466, ihgidora@CoolAid.org


About REES

The REES Program is home to a variety of essential services designed to support people in our community who are experiencing challenges with mental health and addictions – to help them in recovery and to build a better quality of life. One hundred to 200 people are helped every weekday. Services include:

  • Community Casual Labour Pool – a free service that connects workers with employers and also with home owners needing help around the home or in the garden.
  • Every Step Counts running and walking program.
  • Mentoring Program – connecting trained volunteers, for one-year placements, with people in the community who need some friendship and advice.
  • Outreach Support and Peer Links – helping people find employment, housing, income support, health services and a variety of other services.
  • Resource Centre – offering free computer and internet access, phones, photocopier, fax, information resources and other office support to locate housing and jobs and stay in touch with family and friends. (Note: free computer and internet access is also available at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora, www.CoolAid.org/dcc.)
  • The Online Resource Guide is a searchable database of local resources for people needing help.

Poverty Costs BC $9.2 Billion Annually (CCPA)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released a report on poverty in BC on July 14, 2011, taking a look at how taking no action on poverty costs more money than poverty reduction.

The CCPA put an estimated  dollar amount on how much inaction is costing the government and society in general. Here is a snippet of what they have to say:

“The bottom line is that poverty in BC represents a direct cost to government alone of $2.2 to $2.3 billion annually, or close to 6 per cent of the provincial budget. The cost to society overall is considerably higher — $8.1 to $9.2 billion, or between 4.1 per cent and 4.7 per cent of BC’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product, or the size of our economy). That is as much as $2,100 for every man, woman and child in BC, or $8,400 for a family of four, every year. In contrast, the estimated cost of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC is $3 to $4 billion per year.”

— Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Summary, Page 1

CCPA: Think we can’t afford to end poverty? Actually, we can’t afford not to.

Thanks to the GV Coalition to End Homelessness and CCPA for drawing our attention to this excellent report.

REES Program Open House – August 3

After the partial collapse of a ceiling at the REES Program on Johnson Street, Cool Aid’s support program for people managing mental health and/or addiction challenges has re-opened its doors at a new location: 823 Broughton Street.

rees-logo-colourOn Wednesday, August 3, from 10 am to 12 noon, the REES Program will host an Open House to officially welcome back clients and volunteers, to thank those who supported the program through its recent transitions, and to meet the program’s new neighbours.  Coffee and snacks will be served. Everyone is welcome.

Victoria Cool Aid Society and its REES Program thank the community for their tremendous support during our time of need. Your care and concern to actively help friends, colleagues, family and neighbours managing mental health and/or addiction challenges is deeply appreciated. A special thanks to Heritage Office Furnishings for their generosity in helping to outfit the new office and the media for getting the word out.

The new address for the REES Program is 823 Broughton Street between the Royal Theatre and the YM/YWCA, and across from the News Group. See location map online.

 

Information:        www.CoolAid.org/rees

Lori Ferguson, REES Program Coordinator
250-595-8619

Lululemon Volleyball Tourney Raises Over $500

Generous efforts from Lululemon Educator, Stevie-rae Robinson, Team Leader, Lauren McCallum and Lululemon staff resulted in a fun, exciting and successful volleyball tournament atop the Strathcona Hotel on August 6th.

Lululemon staff donations, door prize tickets and team entries from four teams raised over $500 for Cool Aid’sDowntown Community Centre. The four teams were Lululemon’s top coordinated Slammin Spandex, the best-dressed Blinded by the Brightness, second placed Bikrim Yoga, and first placed Military Men – way to go Military Men!

These contributions from Lululemon and all the volleyball players will support successful programs like Every Step Counts (running and walking), yoga classes and other healthy recreation programs for people with mental health, addiction, financial, housing and other barriers and challenges in their lives.

These programs are provided by Cool Aid at no cost to participants, allowing them to alleviate stress, build self esteem, confidence, vitality and a healthier life style. Thank you Lululemon!

Lululemon and volleyball enthusiasts raising $500 for Downtown Community Centre

Looking Back … Thinking Ahead – Strategic Report 2010-11

August 24, 2011 – I am pleased to present Cool Aid’s fifth annual balanced scorecard report to the community, one of the key deliverables of our strategic planning process. Our methodology, the balanced scorecard, illustrates our commitment to monitor and improve organizational performance and to chart our milestones and achievements through four perspectives — Financial, Customer, Internal Process, and Learning and Growth.

Cool Aid is built on a solid foundation that has allowed us to build our capacity, year after year, to better serve the needs of our community. 2010/11 was another successful operating year, during which we met our program and service delivery goals in a fiscally responsible manner.

Thanks to the energy, expertise and dedication of Cool Aid’s staff and partners, together with the generosity of our volunteers and donors and the continuing support of our funders, in 2010/11 we successfully managed several major projects while continuing to provide a continuum of housing, shelter, health and support services for those individuals most in need.

Project Highlights

  • Opened the doors to Rock Bay Landing, our new purpose-built shelter and transitional housing program, made possible by the Province of BC, BC Housing, and the City of Victoria.
  • Began work on the conversion of the old Streetlink shelter into supportive housing, which will expand Swift House by 23 additional units.
  • Housed more than 40 people (individuals and couples) and their pets at Queens Manor, one of two Travelers Inns purchased by the City of Victoria—the culmination of much behind-the-scenes work by many community partners, particularly the City of Victoria and BC Housing.
  • Began the tenant selection process for Olympic Vista, in order to provide supportive housing to 36 seniors when the building opens in May 2011.
  • Worked with our partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness to adapt the Streets to Homes pilot project from its Toronto origins. Now that the Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC has joined our partnership, the outlook is positive for meeting the target of housing 120 individuals before the end of 2011/12.
  • Celebrated our first year of operation in the Access Health Centre in October 2010, a success story we share with our partner AIDS Vancouver Island. Together, our two agencies are providing respectful and effective health care and social services to well over 1,500 more individuals than could be served at our old locations.

Service Highlights

  • Shelters—Offered more than 47,000 shelter bed nights and 154,000 hot meals to 1,885 individual shelter clients and helped 154 of them obtain housing.
  • Community Health—Delivered more than 34,100 primary health and dental appointments and welcomed an additional 979 new patients to the Access Health Centre.
  • Resources, Education, Employment and Support (REES)—Connected more than 1,500 people with opportunities, resources and supports through our REES program, which includes Outreach and Support, the Casual Labour Pool, Every Step Counts, and the Mentoring Project.
  • Supportive Housing—Provided a safe home for 340 individuals where building community and rebuilding lives are part of the supportive environment.
  • Downtown Community Centre—Laid the groundwork to double the hours of service and offer a broader spectrum of programs in 2011/12. Marginalized individuals living within the downtown core will now have healthy social, recreational and educational opportunities during evenings and weekends when most services are unavailable.As this report demonstrates, Cool Aid is committed to working with others to create solutions for our community. By engaging with clients, staff, funders, donors and other community organizations, by listening to and learning from each other, we can create a better community for all.

Download the entire 2010-11 Balanced Scorecard report from this web site.
Read all of Cool Aid’s annual strategic reports.

 

— Kathy Stinson, Executive Director

Cool Aid AGM September 13: Creating Community Solutions

The theme for this year’s Annual General Meeting is “Creating Community Solutions” with a focus on people and organizations working together with Cool Aid to end homelessness in our community.

You are invited to attend the AGM, even if you are not a member, on Tuesday, September 13 @ 12 noon at theDowntown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue. Refreshments will be available starting at 11:30 am with an opportunity for supporters, staff and clients to meet one another and talk.

The keynote speaker is Roger Girouard, Leadership Council Director with the Coalition to End Homelessness, Salvation Army volunteer, and retired Commander Joint Task Force Pacific and Maritime Forces Pacific in Victoria.

We look forward to reporting on the past year’s solution-focused activities which included:

  • opening of Rock Bay Landing emergency shelter and transitional housing
  • new supportive housing at Queens Manor (a repurposed Traveller’s Inn purchased by the City)
  • one year anniversary of the Access Health Centre
  • near completion of Olympic Vista seniors housing
  • starting conversion of Streetlink shelter to housing (Swift House expansion)

RSVP or questions to Jeannette Wood, 250-414-4783 or jwood@CoolAid.org by Sunday, September 11.

Copies of Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Annual Report 2010-11 will be available.

Please check in before you enter the gymnasium.

Homelessness Action Week 2011 – What Will You Do?

Homelessness Action Week (October 10-16, 2011) takes place each year across Canada. In Victoria, events are coordinated by our partners at the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

Homelessness Action Week includes invites individuals and businesses to take actions in making a difference for the impoverished and homeless. Learning events also share information about the current state of poverty and homelessness in Victoria with the intention to solve  homelessness.

Events in Victoria include:

Home Safe Hamilton – a documentary about how Canadian families live with the threat and the reality of homelessness. The screening will include a time for discussion of local homelessness issues.

  • 7 to 9 pm Wednesday, October 12 @ The Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas Street
  • Register online or call Mary Katharine at 250-383-6166 ext 100

End Poverty: Action Learning Event – participate in a discussion for action on local homelessness issues, featuring guest speakers Brendan Reimer of the Canadian CED Network and Shauna McKinnon of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

  • 8:30 to 11:30 am Thursday, October 13 @ Fairfield Gonzales Community Place, Garry Oak Room, 1335 Thurlow Road
  • Register online or call Mary Katharine at 250-383-6166 ext 100

Project Connect – includes professional services as well the delivery of survival packs of donated toiletries and cold weather clothing essentials. Whether you donate a single toque or a case of deodorant, you will make a difference!

  • 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Friday, October 14 at  Our Place, 919 Pandora Avenue
  • If your workplace is interested in banding together to donate en mass, the coalition has created these fun posters to help you share info with everyone in your office: Poster 1 and Poster 2

More details of both the Home Safe Hamilton screening and End Poverty are available on this poster. Please share it with your friends, family and co-workers.

Special thanks to The Cridge Centre for the Family for making this article available to Cool Aid.

Rock Bay Landing: One-Year Open House Tuesday

November 7, 2011 – Victoria Cool Aid Society celebrates one-year of service at Rock Bay Landing emergency shelter and transitional housing with an Open House on Tuesday, November 8, from 12:30 to 3 pm, at 535 Ellice Street.

Tours will be available for the media and the public.

Some of Cool Aid’s accomplishments during Rock Bay Landing’s first year of service include:

  • 109,000 nutritious meals served during the year
  • An average of 2,530 shelter beds filled each month with an occupancy rate > 99% over the last six months
  • 10 families sheltered
  • 82 people housed in transitional units
  • 97 people helped to find permanent homes
  • 2,635 people assisted with additional services (e.g. income/employment: 132, advocacy: 130, counselling/emotional support: 237, detox/treatment: 175, ID: 70, bus tickets: 2,600)

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including emergency shelter, transitional and supported housing, community health and dental services, mental health and employment services, and the Downtown Community Centre. Cool Aid specializes in services for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

Information and Tour Bookings:     www.CoolAid.org/rbl     www.CoolAid.org/shelter

Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters
250-383-1951, dmctavish@CoolAid.org

 


 

Backgrounder on Rock Bay Landing

Rock Bay Landing, Victoria’s largest emergency shelter, evolved from the original Cool Aid hostel in 1968 and replaces the old Streetlink shelter.

Rock Bay provides the very basic of needs to Victoria’s downtown, street-entrenched populations: shelter, food and hygiene. It is a link to other Cool Aid services such as the Community Health Centre and housing, and other services like Our Place, Detox Services and Pacifica Housing.

“The Rock” is not only a shelter, but also provides meals, drop in services, laundry facilities, storage, computers, activities and links to other resources. Rock Bay Landing helps over 40 people each day deal with issues of physical and mental health, substance abuse, life skills, crisis intervention and housing needs. 23 units of transitional housing and support staff are also available on site to help our residents make the next steps into market housing and re-integration with the larger community.

The new, purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility offers many improvements over Streetlink including:

  • 84 permanent shelter beds; up from 80 at Streetlink.
  • 23 new units of transitional housing.
  • Two units of family shelter– the first in the Capital Region, managed in partnership with the Burnside Gorge Community Centre.
  • Expanded space for 40 shelter mats during overflow conditions.
  • A card lock system and lockers for each resident allows almost 24-hour access to their rooms. (At Streetlink, room access was restricted to overnight hours only.)
  • A large exterior courtyard, accessed through the building, for residents and drop-in visitors. (No courtyard was available at Streetlink.)
  • A day storage service available for non-residents and carts are accommodated on site.
  • Washrooms, showers, laundry, training workshops, computer access, kitchen and dining facilities (greatly improved over Streetlink).
  • Additional rooms allow more opportunities for group work, counselling and client meetings and services.
  • A community policing office is located in the shelter.
  • Rock Bay Landing is built to the highest green standards (LEED GOLD) including solar panels on the roof, heat recovery, superior insulation and much more.
  • Pets are welcomed at The Rock.
  • There are many more volunteer opportunities for community members.

Swiss Natural Donates $65,000 to Community Health Centre

Swiss Natural donates $65,000 to Cool Aid Community Health ServicesNovember 9, 2011 – Victoria Cool Aid Society is delighted to announce the latest gift of $50,000 from Swiss Natural (Swiss Herbal Remedies Ltd.) to Cool Aid’sCommunity Health Centre. This very generous gift, like two previous gifts of over $8,000 each, allows Cool Aid to provide healthy vitamins to some of our 4,000 patients who are homeless and low income: government funding does not pay for most vitamin therapies.

On Thursday, November 10, at 8:30 am, at 713 Johnson Street (Access Health Centre), two original works of art by Hugh Matheson, a Cool Aid patient, will be presented to Dr. Elvis Ali, Naturopathic Doctor with Swiss Natural, and company representative Dianne McKerrell, as a token of Cool Aid’s appreciation for their very generous support of our work with health-challenged patients. The news conference will also hear from Cool Aid pharmacist James Pauly and Nurse Anne Drost on how vitamins are used to supplement the primary health care services provided at the Health Centre.

“We are so grateful that Swiss Natural has been so generous to our patients,” said Cool Aid’s manager of community health services Irene Haigh-Gidora. “Patients on a limited income and income assistance face challenges with nutrition and full micronutrient replacement.  For them vitamins are often essential. Without Swiss Natural’s support there is simply no way that most of our patients would be able to access vitamins.”

“Swiss Natural is committed to the health of all Canadians,” said Dr. Elvis. “We want to help people, like Cool Aid’s patients, who have health challenges and who would otherwise be unable to access vitamins and other supplements. It is our pleasure to provide this gift of health to the community of Victoria.”

The vitamins are made available to Cool Aid’s regular patients on a priority needs basis through Cool Aid’s pharmaceutical dispensary on the advice of the physicians and nurses who practice at the Community Health Centre. Vitamin C and probiotics have been prioritized for distribution during the cold and flu season, a season that impacts our patients so profoundly.

 

Swiss Herbal Remedies has been producing vitamins and health products for over 45 years to help Canadian consumers re-balance their bodies back to a more natural and healthy state. Today, Swiss Herbal Remedies employs over 120 Canadians. They manufacture, package and market over 400 products worldwide.

 

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including primary health care and dental services, mental health and employment services, emergency shelter, transitional and supported housing, and the Downtown Community Centre. Cool Aid specializes in services for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

– 30 –

 

Information:   www.CoolAid.org        www.SwissNatural.com

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Cool Aid, Manager of Community Health Services
250-385-1477, ihgidora@CoolAid.org

Dr. Elvis Ali, Swiss Natural, Naturopathic Health Educator
800-268-9879, EAli@SwissNatural.com

Brianne Arnott, Swiss Natural, Associate Product Manager
905-695-4216, barnott@SwissNatural.com

Children of Celebrities Host Benefit Concert

Click on poster for a printable copy - please post for us if you can

 

What: Christmas Cabaret: Benefit for Cool Aid Society’s Every Step Counts Program
Who: Children of Celebrities, Queenie and the Groove Kings, Mowbray & Mills, and Four on the Floor
When: Saturday November 19, 2011 –  Doors: 6:30 pm –  Show: 7 pm
Where: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad Street
Tickets: At the door or in advance at: The Sprial Café at 418 Craigflower Rd, Westshore Hearing Solutions at 2955 Phipps Road, Sneakers Computers at 880C Esquimalt Road & 847 Goldstream Ave, Frontrunners at 1200 Vancouver Street, and online at www.childrenofcelebrities.com.

 

The Event

On Saturday November 19, Children of Celebrities – staples of the Island’s roots music scene – are hosting the second installment of their annual Christmas Cabaret benefit concert. This year, proceeds from the benefit will go to support the Cool Aid Society’s “Every Step Counts” program.

Every Step Counts is a unique running and walking program founded by the Victoria Foundation and hosted at the Victoria Cool Aid Society. This innovative program is designed for people experiencing barriers and challenges with housing, mental health, addiction, and other related issues.  It is positive and unique, drawing on the wide-reaching and long-lasting benefits of exercising and team work to foster self esteem, confidence, energy and healthy lifestyle choices.

“In my 30 years as a social service worker in downtown Victoria,” Children of Celebrities member and Cool Aid Senior Social Service Worker Mike Raymer explains, “Every Step Counts is one of the best examples of a project that facilitates positive change in the lives of people who participate.” Last year, the Christmas Cabaret raised sixteen hundred dollars for Cool Aid and Women in Need. They hope to top that this time around.

In addition to a performance by Children of Celebrities, the fundraiser will also feature performances by Queenie and the Groove Kings, Mowbray and Mills, and Four on the Floor.

The Players

Children of Celebrities

Victoria’s Kings of enviro-cowboy lounge music, have earned their reputation for being an engaging, animated, and crowd-pleasing live act. Known for their infectious live performances, original songwriting and pure musical enjoyment, the band has performed at venues throughout Victoria, including Rifflandia, Butchart Gardens and Alix Goolden Hall as well as being fixtures on the local busking scene. “Their shows feature songs from their three CDs – “Middle Age Wasteland,” “We’re Not Bitter,” and “Stereo Bang Bang” – as well as new songs for an upcoming CD. As Monday Magazine writes, “They inhabit that nebulous middle ground between country, bluegrass and whatever it is Tom Waits does”. Info: www.childrenofcelebrities.com.

Queenie and the Groove Kings

Why do bands like Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire continue to perform at sold out venues? It’s the breathtaking sound produced with the marriage of horns and vocals with a pulsing rhythm section! That is the inspiration for Queenie and the Groove Kings – a high energy music and dance experience that features “old school” rhythm and blues, Motown and Stax classics, Latin-pop, and the horn driven sounds of bands like Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears.

Mowbray and Mills

Trust these 4 fine musicians to deliver funky, upbeat, Pac-Rim originals.  Their  distinctive harmonies and stage sparkle tease and delight.  Regulars on the Victoria music scene and leaders of the SAC’s Regional Writing Group, Paul Mowbray (guitar/vocal) and Tracy Mills (violin/vocal) lift off with Stephen Ogden (bass/vocal) and Kelby MacNayr (drums). Info: www.mowbrayandmills.com.

Four on the Floor

You might say that the members of Four on the Floor can’t count ~ a skill important to making music ~ and given that there are five band members, you’d have a strong case.  But what really counts however, are those soaring harmonies, that variety of great tunes old and new and the interplay of personalities among this happy pentangle.  Four on the Floor have been cruising the musical highways in and around Victoria for the past four years. Veterans of the local Victoria folk clubs and coffee houses they have loaned themselves and their love of tune making to fundraising events for the Food Bank, Madrona Farm and African Aid.

The Theme

The Christmas Cabaret will have a Mexican theme this year, just to “spice” it up a little. What could be better than a Mexican-themed Christmas party with great live music and great cause?

75-Hour Endowment Challenge

November 25, 2011 – A big thank you to our many donors and especially the Victoria Foundation – together we raised over $16,000 for the Cool Aid Endowment. Those are wonderful gifts that will keep on giving forever!


November 15, 2011 – To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the Victoria Foundation is hosting the 75-Hour Challenge – an opportunity to strengthen endowment funds hosted by the foundation on behalf of non-profit organizations.  The Victoria Foundation will distribute a $75,000 Challenge Fund based on how much the community gives to each participating organization in the 75 hours between 9 am on Tuesday, November 15 and 12 noon on Friday, November 18. 

Victoria Foundation's 75-Hour Challenge

Victoria Cool Aid Society has an endowment fund at the Victoria Foundation which supports (in perpetuity) all of our programs: housing, emergency shelter, primary health and dental care, support for people living with mental health and addictions, healthy recreation and lifeskills programming and more. Annual proceeds from the Cool Aid Endowment are used to pay for programs for which other funding is unavailable.

If you would like to contribute to the Cool Aid Endowment please do so between 9 am November 15 and 12 noon on November 18, so that your gift will be increased by a portion of the $75,000 Challenge Fund – an instant return on your investment that will continue to help in Cool Aid’s critical work year after year.

Ways of Giving in the 75-Hour Challenge

 

Online

Donate online through www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca – click on the “Make a Donation” button and follow the steps through our CanadaHelps page.  Please ensure you indicate that your donation is to support Cool Aid’s Endowment. Note that the CanadaHelps administration fee of 3.9% will be deducted before the gift is added to the Cool Aid Endowment.

Cheques

All cheques should be made payable to the Victoria Foundation for: “Victoria Cool Aid Society Endowment” in the memo line. Cheques may be mailed or delivered to the Victoria Foundation (#109 – 645 Fort St., Victoria, B.C., V8W 1G2) and must be received between 9 am November 15 and noon on the 18th to qualify for the Challenge Fund.

Credit Cards

Call the Victoria Foundation at 250-381-5532 to make a gift by VISA or Mastercard.

Publicly-Traded Securities

During the 75-Hour Challenge, hosted organizations may have donors who wish to make contributions to their endowment funds via gifts of marketable securities – a very tax-wise way to donate.  The Victoria Foundation can accommodate these gifts by working directly with the organization, their donor and their donor’s broker to ensure the gift is received during the 75-hour window:

  • The form Donation of Publicly-Traded Securities to the Victoria Foundation must be completed by the donor.
  • The securities must be received by our custodian, RBC Dexia, within the 75-hour window.
  • The securities must be donated directly to the Victoria Foundation, which will provide the donor with a tax receipt based on the value of the securities on the date they are received into our custodian’s account.  This value will be used as the amount deposited to the credit of the hosted organization’s endowment fund.

If you are interested in making a gift of securities for the purpose of the 75-Hour Challenge, Victoria Foundation needs to work with you now in order to ensure that your broker and their custodian are ready to send and receive (respectively) the gift within the 75-hour window.

The Victoria Foundation is not responsible for your broker’s process.  Should your broker fail to complete the necessary transfer instructions in time for the transfer to take place, the Victoria Foundation will still be able to receive the gift, however it may not be included in the 75-Hour Challenge results.  The Victoria Foundation’s custodian will be on hand during the 75-hour window to ensure that all “known” incoming gifts of securities are promptly received, tracked and valued within the 75-hour window.

Victoria Foundation’s contact for all gifts of marketable securities is Sara Neely, Director of Philanthropic Services. Please work with Sara to ensure these gifts come in correctly – she can be reached at (250) 381-5532 orsneely@victoriafoundation.bc.ca.

Donation Receipts

All gifts of $10 or more will be receipted by the Victoria Foundation.  Donors who support the 75-Hour Challenge through CanadaHelps will receive an instant tax receipt.  All other gifts will be receipted by the Victoria Foundation within two weeks of the 75-Hour Challenge.

Cool Aid would appreciate knowing about your gift as well. Please let us know by sending a short email todonate@CoolAid.org or by calling Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781. Questions? Give him a call.

Thank you for supporting the community and the Victoria Cool Aid Society through your participation in the Victoria Foundation’s 75-Hour Challenge!

Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List

Victoria – Giving the perfect gift is such a great feeling, and every year we rack our brains and scour the malls for this very reason.  It’s also a great feeling to help those who are less fortunate than us, and every year there are a myriad of wonderful ways we can make a difference.  Well this year, we all have the opportunity to do both, with the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List, found at www.homelesspartners.com.

A toque, some socks, a moment of your time: these are some of the simple things that would warm the hearts of our city’s homeless. The Victoria Cool Aid Society and Shelbourne Street Church of Christ are joining forces on this project where we ask the residents of several shelters to share their experiences and hopes with us, and select a few items that they would appreciate as Christmas gifts. These stories and wish lists are then put on the web (under the residents’ first names), where people can read them and choose a gift to buy for one of the specific shelter residents.  The gifts are then dropped off at the reception counter at the shelter in time for Christmas.

The response last year was overwhelming.  Many Victorians were so generous and understood not only how much it meant to simply read the stories or send an encouraging Christmas card, but also what an impact it would have on the residents to receive what they wanted; for example, to get a pay-as-you-go cell phone and be able to put a contact number other than the shelter on their resume.

There were a total of 69 interviews done last year and due to overwhelming generosity of the people of this city and surrounding areas each person was given at least one gift, with many receiving everything they asked for.

“For some people in our city there is no home for the holidays,” says Dan Hickman, volunteer for the program. “People can change the life of a homeless person right here in Victoria.”

The purpose of this initiative is to show the homeless that they are not invisible, that someone cares. It also allows people to see that the homeless are not unknown and nameless, but real people with personal stories, who can feel the joy of Christmas in this simple way.

Homeless Partners is a non-profit, self-funded program run entirely by volunteer efforts, in partnership with the staff at shelters where the program is offered. The program is coordinated by a small number of individuals, who assist volunteers from local churches in starting and running the program in their city. Since 2005, the project has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate and touched many more hearts in cities across North America.

This is the third year Victoria is participating, and we hope to serve the 100+ residents of Next Steps, Sandy Merriman House and the Rock Bay Landing shelter.

We are hoping to connect people personally and directly with the homeless, to raise awareness of both the problem and the vast amount of work going into a solution by wonderful associations like Cool Aid. We’ll have succeeded if people spend even five minutes reading the stories we’ve been able to record.

Members of the public can help by visiting www.homelesspartners.com to learn more, reading the stories, buying gifts or volunteering in some way.  Due to the short-term nature of many shelter stays, we’ll continue to add stories to the site a week before the Holiday, so please check for updates as Christmas Day approaches.

– 30 –

Information:

www.homelesspartners.com www.CoolAid.org/shelter
Crystal Morton, Victoria HomelessPartners Project
brianandcrystalm@gmail.com, Phone 778-430-2227

Jennie Keeran, Project Founder
jenniek@uniserve.com, Phone 778-433-1547

Dan Hickman, Media Contact for Victoria HomelessPartners Project
LtDanHickman@gmail.com, Phone 250-893-2940

Christine O’Brien, Victoria Cool Aid Society
Coordinator of Sandy Merriman House & Next Steps Transitional Shelter
cobrien@CoolAid.org, Phone 250-480-1408

Joann Connolly, Victoria Cool Aid Society
Rock Bay Landing shelter
jconnolly@CoolAid.org, Phone  250-383-1951

Victoria’s First Ever Yogathon: Saturday, July 7

Thank-you as well to the following business owners/managers who donated items for our instructor gift bags:

Aveda Institute & Habit Coffee

And thank-you to spud.ca for the delicious bananas and to Old Victoria Water Company for keeping us hydrated. We literally could not have done this without you!

And on behalf of the staff team and volunteers, thanks everyone for believing in the event, donating what you could and supporting our cause – Namaste!

Benefits Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Clients

 

An outdoors yoga session for just $5 or up to 12 hours at a Yogathon with pledges? Cool.

A chance to help our neighbours in the community who can’t afford a yoga class take yoga at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Centrefor free?

Double plus good.

This exciting public event is happening in Spirit Square (Centennial Square) on Saturday, July 7, from 8 am – 8 pm: Victoria’s first-ever Yogathon! Please join us.

There will be drop-in, 45-minute yoga classes every hour, on the hour, from 8 am to 7 pm.

Invite your friends. Visit the Yogathon Facebook page.

There will also be water, a first-aid station, some information about Cool Aid and the Downtown Community Centre. Tours will also be available at 10 am, 12 noon, 2 pm and 4 pm of the Community Centre – which is just a block away at 755 Pandora.

Join the Yogathon Sat, July 7 hourly from 8 am to 7 pm at Centennial Square

You are invited to participate in the Yogathon in a variety of ways:

  • Print and display the poster at your place of business or elsewhere in the community.
  • Join us for some or all of the day.
  • Volunteer for one or two of the hour-long sessions – we need professional teachers to lead each one-hour block.
  • Make a donation towards the Yoga program – so that Cool Aid can continue making yoga available to people in our community with no means to pay. (Pick “Downtown Community Centre” as your “Fund/Designation” if you are donating online.)
  • Get a pledge form and start raising money!
  • Distribute copies of the Yogathon pledge form to your friends and other yoga practitioners to encourage them to participate and raise some money for the community Yoga program.
  • Form a Yogathon team!
  • Get involved in helping us plan and organize this event.
  • Help on the day in a non-teaching capacity.
  • Maybe you have another idea on how to help out?

During the Yogathon day, there is a $5 suggested donation per class. You can also pick up a pledge form and raise more money and participate in as many sessions as you want.

The Open House and Yogathon celebrate one year of expanded hours (evenings and weekends) and increased programming at the Downtown Community Centre. All Open House activities are all family friendly and include: 10-11 am Tai Chi, 11:30 am-12:30 pm Chalk Mandala drawing, 1:30-2:30 pm Drum Circle and 3:30-4:30 pm Table Tennis.

Program participants are volunteering at the Open House to help facilitate the activities, staff the kitchen and assist with a guest collage – where folks can draw, write and express on a large poster-board what the Downtown Community Centre means to them and what they like about it. Tenants from Cool Aid’s Mike Gidora, Pandora and Desmond House buildings will play key roles throughout the day.

To learn more about the Downtown Community Centre’s healthy recreation and leisure programs please visit the web page at www.CoolAid.org/dcc.

 

Yoga Practices Descriptions

Active Hatha – Full body engagement with a strong focus on breath and postural alignment. Some slow flow to transition between poses. Appropriate for able bodied beginners and intermediate practitioners.

Ashtanga – Involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures – a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body and a calm mind.

Bikram’s – A type of hatha yoga characterized by a set series of postures and breathing exercises, usually performed in a very hot room.

Family Yoga uses everything from creative movement, stories, beginner Acro/partner-Yoga, and games to introduce, practice and play Yoga together!!! All family members welcome: kids from tiny to teen, parents & caregivers too!

Hatha Flow – Includes asana (postures), some Pranayama (breath work) and meditation. Learn the foundational poses of yoga with an emphasis on proper alignment and beginning of self awareness.

Kirtan Chanting – Kirtan practice involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments such as the harmonium, tablas, the two-headed mrdanga or pakawaj drum, and karatal hand cymbals.

Kundalini – A system of meditative techniques and movements within the yogic tradition that focuses on psycho-spiritual growth and the body’s potential for maturation.

Yin – Breath deep and chill out with gentle, slow, meditative stretches to end the day.

Running Empowers Both Sides of the Strait

Run for Change VancouverAugust 9, 2012 – Vancouver and Victoria walking and running programs Run for Change and Every Step Counts unite on Saturday, August 18 @ 10 am to participate in the 3rd annual Run for Change 5k fun run in Vancouver. The 5k Fun Run takes place Saturday, August 18 at 10am at the Olympic Plaza Athletes Village between Walter Hardwick Ave and Athletes Way at Manitoba Street. Registration starts at 8:30am and is free. It is a public event.

Run for Change is a Vancouver running and walking program that works alongside Carnegie Center and other shelters to encourage and work with low income people on the downtown east side to actively participate in regular running and walking .  The program promotes commitment and encourages goal setting for a healthier lifestyle. Benji Chu founded Run for Change in 2010 because he realized the power of running. Benji ran in many marathons over the years  and raised money for charity, but he knew the greatest power was not from fundraising but from running  and felt that  others could benefit from this same sense of empowerment and achievement.

“It (running) made me a healthier, happier, more disciplined person and built up my confidence.”
 Benji Chu

Run for Change has invited Every Step Counts, a similar program in Victoria, to join in the run this year. Every Step Counts is a Victoria walking and running program in its fourth year, for individuals facing challenges with mental health, addiction, poverty and social isolation, initiated by the Victoria Foundation and operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Built on the cornerstones of a sense of belonging, getting outside and nutritious food, over 360 men and women have experienced how every step does indeed count.

“It has really started a change in mind for me. I don’t access a lot of social services and this is a program that really works!”
– Every Step Counts team member

Connecting these two programs which are committed to empowering and supporting individuals reinforces the strength, importance and truth that running and walking changes lives.

-30-

Information: www.runforchange.ca     www.CoolAid.org/esc

Vancouver, Run for Change                                                                             Victoria, Every Step Counts

Benji Chu, Founder                                                                                            Gillie Easdon, Coordinator

Tel: 604-218-5064                                                                                              Tel: 250-595-8619

Email: runfchange@gmail.com                                                                       Email: geasdon@CoolAid.org

Fringe Festival Comes To Downtown Community Centre

The Downtown Community Centre offers many great programs and activities all year, but perhaps none as entertaining as hosting some of the great performances of this year’s Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival.

The Fringe brings independent, un-juried performances to stages across Victoria, and this year you can see stunning shows featuring modern dance, hilarious monologues, life lessons, and supernatural detectives. It’s a great opportunity to check out theDowntown Community Centre (755 Pandora Avenue) and be entertained at the same time!

All proceeds go directly to the performers themselves, so get your Fringe on!

Please note that the Community Centre’s regular programming will not be available until after the Fringe Festival, except for 9 am coffee in the courtyard.

The Downtown Community Centre’s facilities, including gymnasium, courtyard, kitchen and lobby are available for rental to organizations looking for an inexpensive, central location downtown for their next event.

For more information, ask for Donna or Miranda at 250-383-0076 or drop by in person after the Fringe.

Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Rally

Saturday, September 8, 10 am to 2 pm

Legislative Assembly Lawns, Victoria

Imagine for a moment, what the picture of mental health care in Canada really looks like. How one in five Canadians struggle with their mental health and approximately 55 deaths occur from suicide every day. Picture an annual cost to society of about $50 billion dollars to cover situations where preventable mental illness was not treated. Consider what it looks like for the ever-increasing number of youth who are facing death from suicide; or how health care providers struggle, with dwindling resources, to support suffering of epic proportions. Now add to the picture governments who are quick to order another study but tragically slow to act. On Saturday, September 8, help us create a better picture. Join hands with other concerned Canadians and raise awareness about mental health and suicide.

“Anyone who has been touched by suicide is a survivor. Survivors are the people who help the victims, the people who think about ending their lives, and the people who need to relearn life after losing a loved one. I am one of the lucky ones. I survived my suicide attempts but survival without hope is despair. I believe the rally is important to let each other know we are not alone. The rally creates a safe place for the people behind the statistics to come together, the survivors like you and me, and that coming together will turn despair into hope. I ‘hope’ to see you on September 8.”            

– Jean Oliver, President

* Statistics combined from the CASP “Blueprint Study” (2009); Federal Government’s “Changing Directions, Changing Lives” (2012); Cowichan Nation’s declaration: “State of Emergency”.

Strategic Planning at Cool Aid

Cool Aid is proud to release our annual Balanced Scorecard. See how successful the Victoria Cool Aid Society is in meeting its strategic objectives:

Or take a look at our Scorecards from previous years:

A copy of the strategic plan overview diagram can be viewed by clicking on the image below:

Cool Aid Strategy Map

Victoria Cool Aid Society’s annual reports and audited financial statements are also available online.

The Real Cost of Homelessness

A new report by Stephen Gaetz of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network reveals the true cost of homelessness in Canada. Click below to download the full report, or visit The Homeless Hub for more information.

Full Report by Stephen Gaetz

The Fall Session At The Atrium – Every Step Counts

Join us for a night of inspiration!

Every Step Counts has seen over 480 people through its doors since February 2009. This inclusive and powerful program, a community initiative of the Victoria Foundation, has played a vital part in the health, happiness and success of many men and women who experience challenges with mental health, addiction, poverty, social isolation and other barriers. Thank you for joining us at The Fall Session at the Atrium, our culinary and musical fundraiser to benefit this key community program last Friday, October 11th,2013, from 6-9 pm.

This year we were thrilled to have guest speaker Dick Beardsley. He is the 3rd fastest American runner in the marathon distance and he touched us all with his inspiring, honest and very intimate tale of addiction and recovery.

Thank you so much to all of the participants and their families, as well as insightful donors, steadfast volunteers and friends, referring agencies and media guests for your consistent and enthusiastic support of Every Step Counts.

Homelessness Action Week 2012

Victoria Cool Aid Society is celebrating Homelessness Action Week (October 7-13) with several opportunities to visit the Society’s extensive services on the 700-block of Pandora this Thursday, October 11:

  • The Downtown Community Centre, thanks to a generous donation from Belmont Secondary students and the Vital Youth program of the Victoria Foundation, is putting on a healthy soup and bun lunch at 12 noon, for people in the community needing some good food. (755 Pandora)
  • Tours of downtown Supportive Housing in the 700-block of Pandora start at the Downtown Community Centre (755 Pandora) every half hour from 11 am through 1 pm. 120 people live in Cool Aid supportive housing on this block.
  • The Beacon Community Services – Cool Aid Thrift Shop will offer a 25% discount on everything in the store (717 Pandora) throughout the day.

Cool Aid is proud of our many contributions in the community as we work with our partners to end homelessness. On the 700-block of Pandora Avenue, Cool Aid operates three supportive housing buildings for 120 tenants; provides free programs at the Downtown Community Centre weekdays, evenings and weekends; partners with Beacon Community Services in a Thrift Shop; and offers a wide variety of employment, volunteer and support services around the corner at the REES Program for people wanting assistance with mental health and addiction challenges.

Oct. 7-13 is Homelessness Action Week in British Columbia. Throughout the week, provincial and local governments along with community organizations will be holding events to raise awareness and highlight the work being done to end homelessness in our communities.

Homelessness Action Week is a time to focus on the work being done each day to help people find housing and rebuild their lives. Whether it’s reaching out to people living on the street, providing links to health, mental health and addiction services, helping someone find emergency shelter or supportive housing, we work with dozens of partners to provide support for those who need it.

 

For more information contact: info@CoolAid.org or call 250-414-4799.

Renovated Hotel Provides Homes for Homeless

Oct. 12, 2012 – Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing, City of Victoria, Capital Regional District Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Renovated hotel provides homes for homeless

VICTORIA – Stakeholders working to end homelessness in Victoria are celebrating the completion of renovations at Queens Manor, a former motel now providing 36 affordable and supportive apartments to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Our Government is supporting Canadians with housing needs and is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. “This facility will help ensure that vulnerable individuals in Victoria can access the housing they need.”

“Queens Manor is a tangible example of how we are creating solutions to help end homelessness in Victoria,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “These 36 new apartments are more than just a roof overhead – they represent the hope for a brighter and healthier future.”

Funding for the $5.5-million project is as follows: The Government of Canada provided $864,000 through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and $600,000 through Service Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy. The Government of B.C. will provide up to $2.9 million for the purchase and renovation of the building. The B.C. government will also provide an annual operating subsidy of $548,330. The City of Victoria provided $360,000 through the Victoria Housing Trust Fund. The Capital Regional District provided $600,000 through their Housing Trust Fund. The United Way of Greater Victoria provided $150,000.

“By working with our partners to create housing options that support people who are most in need, we are making this community a better place for everyone,” said Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin. “This is why our city has made it a priority to develop projects such as Queens Manor and why we remain committed to ending homelessness in the Capital Region.”

The City of Victoria purchased the former Traveller’s Inn Motel in July 2010 to preserve affordable rental housing stock for low-income individuals. The B.C. government will purchase the building from the city in order for it to become part of the provincial housing stock.

 

“At the Capital Regional District we believe that access to housing is the cornerstone of a healthy community,” said Paul Gerrard, chairman, Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission, Capital Regional District. “This is why we are committed to working with communities and government to ensure funding for projects, such as Queens Manor, that will contribute to the betterment of our society.”

“A key challenge in the Capital Regional District is housing for people who are homeless and who struggle with unsafe and inadequate housing,” said Linda Hughes, CEO, United Way of Greater Victoria. “United Way of Greater Victoria is pleased to play a part in supporting organizations that work diligently to prepare and support people to find and maintain housing that meet their unique circumstances.”

The building underwent significant renovations including a new boiler, new kitchenettes in every suite, new flooring, laundry facilities, improved lighting, new fire suppression, new exterior doors, paint inside and outside and additional cosmetic upgrades. Renovations were completed one floor at a time to keep as many residents housed at Queens Manor as possible and, when necessary, tenants were found interim housing.

Queens Manor provides supportive housing for individuals who have had a difficult time establishing or maintaining tenancy and will act as the first step back into permanent housing. The building is managed and operated by Victoria Cool Aid Society.

“It takes many partners working together to effectively help end homelessness,” said Kathy Stinson, executive director, Victoria Cool Aid Society. “I’d like to thank all the partners who came together to make Queens Manor possible. This important development takes our community one step closer to ensuring that everyone in Victoria has a home.”

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 605,000 households living in existing social housing. In British Columbia, this represents some 68,650 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.

For more information on this and other measures in Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit: www.actionplan.gc.ca

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit: www.cmhc.ca

Since 2001, the government of B.C. has invested $3.2 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services. To find out more, visit: www.bchousing.org

 


 

Media inquiries:

Seumas Gordon, BC Housing, 604-439-4789

Jeanette Wilkinson, CMHC Communications BC Region, 604-737-4025

Marian Ngo, Office of Minister Finley, 819-994-2482

Katie Josephson, City of Victoria, 250-361-0210, 250-217-8343 (cell)

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect

Council Affirms $600,000 Commitment to Housing and Ending Homelessness

November 9, 2012 – Last night, Victoria City Council walked back a narrow vote of its own Governance and Priorities Committee (GPC) to reduce funding of Housing Trusts by $100,000 and to emasculate its own City of Victoria Housing Trust Fund. Council voted:

  1. To again provide core funding of $100,000 to the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. (unanimous)
  2. To continue providing $500,000 to Housing Trusts to encourage low-income and supportive housing in the region. (Opposed: Young)
  3. To apportion the half million dollars equally between the CRD’s Regional Housing Trust Fund and the Victoria Housing Trust Fund. (split vote)

“Last night was a good night for Victorians who are in need and also for democracy,” said Kathy Stinson, Cool Aid’s executive director and the Chair of the Downtown Service Providers. “Everyone is relieved that Council’s sober second thought brought about a decision that will lead to better outcomes for people who are homeless or unable to afford market-level rents and which will improve the quality of life in the Capital Region.”

Council listened to extensive community feedback after the initial vote at GPC and several Councillors questioned their original vote. Council learned that Housing Trust dollars have consistently leveraged other housing funding by a ratio of 14:1. The proposed $100,000 cut would therefore translate into a loss of $1.4 million for low income and supportive housing, or nine apartments annually.

Said Stinson: “On behalf of Cool Aid and our partners in the Downtown Service Providers, I thank the Mayor and those Councillors who decided not to make cuts on the backs of the poor – and instead, to continue to work with us to eliminate homelessness in the Capital Region by 2018.”

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is helping to build homes and a better community through compassionate people who provide a variety of services that improve people’s lives, including: housing, health care, support, and emergency shelter.

– 30 –

Information:

Presentation and letter enclosed.

Kathy Stinson, 250-383-1977

Spreading Warmth in Victoria – and across the country!

Amy Maxwell and James Bak


Thank you so much!

Canadian furniture and home accent retailer, Urban Barn, invites its customers to join them in blanketing the country in warmth. Beginning today, with every $5.00 donation, a brand-new Urban Barn fleece blanket will be donated to a local homeless shelter within the community. The initiative will run throughout the month of November across all 41 Urban Barn retail locations in Canada’s five most westerly provinces with a goal of donating 8,000 blankets to the cause.

 

In Victoria, the brand-new blankets will be donated to the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The VCA Society operates three emergency shelters within the region including Rock Bay Landing, which provides 84 shelter beds); Sandy Merriman House, a women’s shelter with 15 emergency beds; and Next Step Transitional shelter which provides 15 beds.

“It’s important for me and my colleagues to be part of this initiative,” shares James Bak, store associate at Urban Barn’s Victoria location. “It means we’re more than just a furniture store. We’re a family and we’re here to support our community.”

In Victoria, Urban Barn is located at 3450 Uptown Boulevard. Store hours are as follows:

  • Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 

“We are extremely excited about this new opportunity to support those in need in our communities,” shares Linda Letts, President of Urban Barn. “This initiative is reflective of who we are as a company and as individuals. Ultimately, we each see ourselves as a member of our community and that comes with a certain level of responsibility. Our collective core values enable us to participate on a local level in a variety of ways, and ‘Blanket the Country in Warmth’ fits perfectly with our commitment to having a positive and immediate impact on the communities in which we work and live.”

To learn more about ‘Blanket the Country in Warmth’, please visit www.blanketthecountry.com

To find out more about Urban Barn, visit www.urbanbarn.com/victoria

Uptown Gives When You Do

Click here to visit Uptown's webpageNovember 15, 2012 – When you give this holiday season, you can give to help those in need at the same time!

Between now and December 24, Uptown will donate 10% of the purchase value of Uptown Gift Cards.

The 10% will be donated to the charity you chose at the time of purchase: one of Cool Aid, Victoria Hospice or the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. Additionally, the charity with the most dollars raised will have that total doubled by Uptown.

Gift cards can be purchased at Uptown Guest Services, in the kiosk across from Starbucks, and can be issued in denominations ranging from $5 to $500. These gift cards can be cashed in at any Uptown retailer. (Please note that this does not include medical offices or Kids & Co daycare.)

Uptown is Victoria’s newest shopping centre, and is located at the intersection of Blanshard Street, Douglas Street and Saanich Road. Uptown is home to many major retailers and shops not found anywhere else in the city. For more information, please visit the Uptown website.

Greater Victoria Facility Count 2012

Our city is lucky to have some great shelter facilities, and Cool Aid is proud to run three of them. Yet even with all of the city’s dedicated facilities and emergency shelters, people in need are turned away every night.

This infographic created by the Coalition to End Homelessness is a snapshot of a single night for those in need of a safe place to sleep, and how great the need is for more shelters in our community.

Click here for a full sized image

UVic Business Students Chillin’ for Charity

Click to print out full-sized poster for display
Thank you so much to JDC West Team Gustavson for coming out to get dunked on a cold day in even colder water – all to help the Community Casual Labour Pool!

Watch the video from CTV here!

Money raised will help people who struggle with homelessness get the support and equipment they need to get back on the job site or make a good impression at job interviews.

Small things can make a big difference to helping people overcome poverty and homelessness, and getting that first job after a crisis is a huge help.

Thank you for this great event!

Discover the stories & hopes of Victoria’s homeless this season

November 27, 2012 – Steel-toed boots, nail polish, “Eclipse” on DVD and thermal underwear – this is a small cross-section of the past wish lists of Victoria’s shelter residents.  When asked, “What would you like for Christmas?”, most homeless are simply overwhelmed that someone cares enough to even pose the question.  Yet this season, volunteers are doing just that, and posting the results at www.homelesspartners.com.

Working with the Cool Aid Society, members of theShelbourne Street Church of Christ are meeting with residents at three local shelters, and asking them to share their stories, and their hopes.  Whether it’s the equipment needed to get a job, a small luxury to make things feel normal again (however briefly), a gift for an estranged teenage daughter, or another layer to keep out the cold, all of these wish list items have the power to make someone’s Christmas special.  In fact, just the knowledge that people care enough to read their stories and think about them, has a huge impact on the interviewees.  By going to the website and perusing the biographies and wish lists, Victorians have the opportunity to learn more about the individuals living on our streets, how they got there, and what a big difference something small can make.

“The hope is that we can show the homeless that they are not invisible, that they are cared for,” says Jennie Keeran, co-founder of the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List program.  “It also allows the public to see that the homeless are not nameless or faceless, nor are they an issue.  They are individuals with different personalities and histories, that can be helped through creating this connection.”  Since 2005, this non-profit program has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate, and connected and touched many more hearts in cities acrossNorth America.  This is the fourth year Victoria is participating, and the hope is to serve the 100+ residents of Next Steps, Sandy Merriman House and Rock Bay Landing shelter.

If you’d like to read their stories, send them an encouraging note, or even buy them a gift, please go to www.homelesspartners.com.  Due to the short-term nature of many shelter stays, volunteers will continue to add stories to the site until mid-December, so please check for updates as Christmas Day approaches.

– 30 –

Information: www.homelesspartners.com               www.CoolAid.org/our-services/homes/shelters/

Monique Cummings / Travis Hutchinson, Shelbourne Street Church of Christ
250-592-4914, secretary@shelbournestreet.com

Jennie Keeran, Homeless Partners Co-Founder, jenniek@uniserve.com

Christine O’Brien, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Coordinator of Sandy Merriman House & Next Steps Transitional Shelter
250-480-1408, cobrien@CoolAid.org

Joann Connolly, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Coordinator of Rock Bay Landing
250-383-1951, jconnolly@CoolAid.org

Free Supper and Concert at the Downtown Community Centre

Join us for an evening of great music and tasty chili on December 15th from 5 to 9 pm. The Downtown Community Centre is proud to host the 4th annual Bandit Benefit Chili Supper & Concert – we hope to see you there!

Shelter Kitchen Renovated to Serve Seniors

December 11, 2012 – Until recently, the old Streetlink Emergency Shelter kitchen at Cool Aid’s Swift House remained vacant after the move to Rock Bay Landing. In the last few months, however, it has been completely refurbished and is now being used to serve more nutritious, more delicious and more cost-effective seniors meals than was previously possible for tenants in Cool Aid supportive housing buildings.

“When the Society vacated Streetlink Shelter, we decided to preserve the old shelter kitchen while converting the rest into 23 additional units of supportive housing,” said John Crean, manager of housing. “We’re thankful that BFI Canada helped out with a generous cash donation.”

“We got more than we bargained for,” said Cool Aid’s Red Seal Chef Ron Curran. “The kitchen needed an extensive overhaul and Cool Aid spent $45,000 on new and refurbished equipment. But every penny will be recouped through cost savings over time.”

The kitchen renovation allows the Society to centralize food services for three Cool Aid seniors buildings. By March 2013, 165 daily meals will be prepared and delivered out of Swift House. Assisted living building Hillside Terrace came on stream first on Thanksgiving and this month Cool Aid has added FairWay Woods in Langford. In 2013, Olympic Vista in Saanich will also benefit from the new food services for seniors.

“Preparing meals in the new kitchen is working very well,” said Chef Curran. “Our tenants are eating better and eating more with the improved food services. Our 30-day rotation of meals ensures a wide variety of homemade and nutritious ‘comfort’ foods that seniors enjoy. We buy and use just about all of our products fresh and make almost everything from scratch, including desserts.”

Ten thousand dollars was donated by BFI Canada, who handle Cool Aid’s recycling and waste, to help with the kitchen equipment costs. “Everyone deserves good food. BFI Canada wanted to help make life better for people in our community who have been through a lot and need support,” said Michael Tripp, BFI Canada’s district manager.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is helping to build homes and a better community through compassionate people who provide a variety of services that improve people’s lives, including: housing, food services, health care, support, and emergency shelter. Cool Aid focuses its services for adults who are homeless or in need of help and provides assistance to over 10,000 individuals every year.

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. is one of North America’s largest full-service, vertically integrated waste management companies, providing non-hazardous solid waste collection and landfill disposal services to commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers in six Canadian provinces. Its major brands, IESI, BFI Canada and Waste Services, are leaders in their markets.

Cool Views #5 has arrived

Meet some of the great people that live and work at Cool Aid’s buildings, see some fabulous artwork, and find out what’s in store for 2013 in this year’s edition of Cool Views!

Click the image to view the on-line version of Cool Views #5. To receive a printed copy, contact us at volunteer@CoolAid.org, or 250-414-4799.

Some stories include:

• Very Cool Events
• Giving a Way of Life
• Varied Voices
• Cool Aid’s New HOmes
• Healing of Jerry McBride
• Meet Cool Aid’s Red Seal Chef
• Art and Home

Unacceptable

If you are on Cool Aid’s website, you probably already know that homelessness is a reality for many people in our community. To help us understand what that really looks like, the Coalition to End Homelessness has launched a series of installations showing where more and more people in our city are calling home every year.

Help spread the message that homelessness is unacceptable. Click here for the Unacceptable campaign web site, or tweet #unacceptableyyj to @homeforhope. Together, we can end homelessness.

“It’s estimated that more than 600 youth and young adults are experiencing homelessness in Greater Victoria. As many as 80% of homeless youth do not sleep rough on the streets, but are ‘hidden’. They may couch surf, or sleep in cars.” – Coalition to End Homelessness

Photo courtesy of the United Way of Greater Victoria

Fall Session @ The Atrium

Every Step Counts has seen over 480 people through its doors since February 2009. This inclusive and powerful program, a community initiative of the Victoria Foundation, has played a vital part in the health, happiness and success of many men and women who experience challenges with mental health, addiction, poverty, social isolation and other barriers. Thank you for joining us at The Fall Session at the Atrium, our culinary and musical fundraiser to benefit this key community program last Friday, October 11th2013, from 6-9 pm.

Together we raised about $10,000 for Every Step Counts! Thank you.

This year we were thrilled to have guest speaker Dick Beardsley. He is the 3rd fastest American runner in the marathon distance and he touched us all with his inspiring, honest and very intimate tale of addiction and recovery.

Thank you so much to all of the participants and their families, as well as insightful donors, steadfast volunteers and friends, referring agencies and media guests for your consistent and enthusiastic support of Every Step Counts.

Legacy Golf Tournament: Drive to End Homelessness

 Thank you so much to Raymond James, our sponsors, and all of the great teams that came out to make the first annual Raymond James Legacy Golf Tournament a success!

Find out more below, or click here to visit the photo gallery on Cool Aid’s Facebook page.

Bringing estate planning professionals together to support:

Friday, September 6th, 2013
Cordova Bay Golf Course
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm (dinner included)

COOL AID AND THE LEGACY GOLF TOURNAMENT

The Victoria Cool Aid Society builds homes, lives and community. We create opportunities for people who are homeless or living in poverty. We make a difference through housing, health care, support and emergency shelters. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps over 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year.

A gift or bequest to the Victoria Cool Aid Society is one of the most effective ways of leaving a legacy for a better future for all of us who call this community home.

The Cool Aid Society Legacy Golf Tournament introduces professionals who assist people with financial planning, estate planning, and wills preparation to the Cool Aid Society, our bequest program, and to the Cool Aid Endowment Fund. The “Cool Aid Housing, Health, Shelter & Community Services Fund” is an Endowment Fund administered by the Victoria Foundation on behalf of Cool Aid. This Fund supports the work of the Society and is mandated to provide emergency shelter, supported housing and community health services for people who are homeless or poor in the region.

Those who wish to direct gifts to specific Cool Aid programs may do so. Undesignated bequests to Cool Aid are directed to three priorities: