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.

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“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.

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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

Andrea Langlois
Communications Coordinator, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366 ext 112 or

Additional background information:

Sheila Taylor
Manager, Community Relations, Capital Regional District