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.

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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