Burnside Gorge Community BBQ Sept 22

Let’s Do Lunch!

Let’s do Lunch invites you and your group of friends, family or colleagues to volunteer and serve a nutritious meal to Cool Aid clients during the lunch hour. The meal service will take place at the former Tally Ho dining room at 3020 Douglas and will serve lunch for up to 50 clients.

For people living in poverty, simply knowing where their next meal is coming from can be a huge relief. While Cool Aid is proud to be able to provide our clients with a light breakfast and supper, we are not funded to provide lunch. Unfortunately this means many of our residents go hungry until evening as they are unable to afford the cost of groceries and food bank availability is limited.

That’s why Cool Aid is launching Let’s do Lunch, a new pilot program to create opportunities for members of the community to connect with our clients and provide a much-needed mid-day meal.

The Program

The meal will be prepared by the Cool Aid kitchen and your group of 4 or 5 people will arrive at the Tally Ho shortly before noon to plate and provide table service.

The cost is $200. This covers lunch for 50 people.

Lunch is served from 12:00-12:45. It is recommended you arrive 15 minutes early.

Please wear comfortable footwear. You will be provided with clean aprons.

Location is 3020 Douglas (former Tally Ho). Parking is free.

To book your lunch please contact Lori Angelini at 250-414-4799 or langelini@CoolAid.org.

 


Love-In Revival: Sunday, July 22

Join us at Centennial Square (Spirit Square) on Sunday, July 22, from 12-4 pm for live music, food trucks, face painting, arts and more! Free.

Benefit: Victoria Dance Instructors Helping to Undefine Beauty

The Secret Language: Charity Partner Dancing Workshop and Social raising funds and awareness for inclusive-focused programs in Victoria through Salsa, Ballroom, Westcoast Swing, Blues, and Country dance styles

Thank you to the fabulous crew of volunteers who made this possible, and in the process raised over $600 for Sandy Merriman House emergency shelter for women!

News Release – July 13, 2018 – Victoria, BC – Instructors from Victoria’s leading dance studios have planned an evening social to raise funds for the Sandy Merriman House emergency shelter for homeless and at-risk women. The event, coordinated by Nimmi Augustine, Victoria’s representative in this year’s Miss Universe Canada pageant, is intended to dispel many of the mistruths and assumptions about traditional beauty, while providing much-needed support for the Victoria Cool Aid Society shelter.

This is the first time the dance instructors from studios across Victoria have come together on a shared cause, bringing a variety of dancing styles and genres for participants to see, learn, and practice. Guests will be able to observe and learn the dancing styles of Tatiana Hassan, Victor Golubkov, Meaghan Efford, Jay Holman, Dean Stroeder, Rick Clark, and other local professionals.

“My mission is to undefine the word beauty and empower people to embrace their unique identity,” shared Ms. Augustine. “True empowerment comes from standing behind others rather than in front of them, and this is what I hope to accomplish through my journey to the stage and beyond.”

“Sandy Merriman House was conceived and initiated in 1994 as part of a life-skills project by the Greater Victoria Women’s Shelter Society,” said Kathy Stinson, Victoria Cool Aid Society’s CEO. “Sandy Merriman House has an inclusive definition of ‘woman’ and ‘female’ – we welcome CIS, trans-women, gender-fluid, and non-binary people. We are excited to support Nimmi at this event and look forward to her efforts to change perceptions around the way we label ourselves and others.”

The evening event will run from 6:30pm – 9:30pm on Friday, July 27 at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Centre, located at 755 Pandora Ave. Tickets are available at the door through a ‘Sliding Scale’ donation. Bring a dance partner or come alone – just be ready to dance and have a great time.


About Nimmi Augustine:

Nimmi Augustine was raised in Toronto as a first-generation Canadian. Her love for diversity fostered an appreciation for global food, art, and travel. She enrolled as a Marine Systems Engineering Officer in the Canadian Armed forces and graduated First-Class in Electrical Engineering at the Royal Military College of Canada.

Today, she’s a health and fitness advocate, fitness competitor, and dancer pursuing a Masters of Global Affairs to build her knowledge and awareness of international security and development.

About Victoria Cool Aid Society:

Homelessness and poverty are issues that touch many of us and impact more lives than you may realize. As the largest provider of services for people experiencing and at risk  of homelessness in Greater Victoria, the Victoria Cool Aid Society is a key player in the work to end homelessness.  Cool Aid advocates for and provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, integrated healthcare and other support services to the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals in the Capital Regional District. Each year, Cool Aid serves over 12,000 adults and seniors facing multiple challenges of poverty, unemployment, mental health and substance use, chronic health issues, brain injury and aging.

Media contact:

Nimmi Augustine, nimmi.a@hotmail.com, 613-483-3621

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

 

Rachel George, Director

Rachel Yacaaʔał George is Nuu-chah-nulth from Ahousaht First Nation. She is a PhD Candidate, and Sessional Instructor at the University of Victoria, and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Amsterdam in Genocide Studies. Her doctoral research examines the efficacy of redress mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation commissions, to facilitate justice for Indigenous communities, and her teaching has been focused on Indigenous politics, reconciliation and resilience.

Prior to beginning her PhD, Rachel served as the Research Coordinator for the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission where she worked closely with Wabanaki communities to share their stories with the commission.

Rachel is excited to be on the Board of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and working with an organization dedicated to finding community-based solutions to end homelessness.

return to the Governance page

Beverley Bowes, Director

Beverley’s professional background is in communications, policy analysis and development, and board governance. She retired in 2015 from her position as Secretary to the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees and manager of their Secretariat. She led the team that provided administrative and professional services to the Board.

Over the 20 years prior to her work in the pension industry, Beverley provided communications advice and services to a range of clients including municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments, service organizations and businesses.

Beverley lives in the Burnside Gorge neighbourhood and is a past Director of the Burnside Gorge Community Association and past Chair of the association’s safety committee. In that capacity, she organized community meetings focused on public safety and security, and developed public education and information sessions, in addition to providing community liaison with Island Health, Victoria City Council, VicPD and Block Watch.

Beverley has served in various volunteer positions including strata corporation vice-president, Block Watch co-captain and seniors’ advocate. She looks forward to this opportunity to continue giving back to her community.

return to the Governance page

Jeremy Belyea, Director

A proud member of the Lake Babine Nation, Jeremy comes from the Raven clan, and sits as a guest of the Fireweed clan in Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territory.

An ardent advocate for children’s rights, he has pursued his passion for supporting children and youth initially as a Clinician, then Clinical Director of Mental Health and Addictions services for several years. Realizing a need for larger systemic changes to support children and youth living outside of their family home/in government-foster care, he took a position as an Advocate with the BC Representative for Children & Youth. After nearly five years of advocating for hundreds of children and youth, an opportunity arose to support the work of BC’s Delegated Aboriginal Agencies at the Ministry for Children and Family Development. As the Director of Operations – Aboriginal Services Branch/Provincial Director of Child Welfare, he’s spent the last year supporting BC’s 24 Delegated Aboriginal Agencies as the strive to provide culturally relevant services and supports to First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth, and their families all across the province.

Sisters of St. Ann Donate $450,000 To Affordable Housing

Victoria – On the day that marks their 160th Anniversary of service in Victoria, the Sisters of St. Ann and Cool Aid (whose 50th Anniversary is on June 10), are pleased to make a significant partnership announcement about the proposed redevelopment of 210 Gorge Road East (Cedar Grove).

“During the last 50 years, the Sisters of St. Ann have worked with Cool Aid on many social services and initiatives for the most marginalized members of our community,” said Sister Joyce Harris, Province Co-Leader. “Today, we are announcing the expansion of our work together, with a major gift to help build more affordable and supportive housing in Victoria.”

“The incredible generosity of the Sisters of St. Ann will invigorate our whole organization and inspire others,” said Cool Aid CEO Kathy Stinson. “In the midst of this housing crisis, we all need to work together to ensure that everyone is safely housed and supported in homes they can afford.”

The transformative $450,000 contribution has helped leverage government funds towards the redevelopment project, which will allow for the housing of an additional 71 people on the underutilized site, with the addition of 50 units of affordable housing and 11 more units of supportive housing. The proposal goes to Victoria Council in the fall for a rezoning hearing.

All tenants will be offered alternative housing options during the redevelopment and all will be offered a new apartment in the new building, at the same low rent, after construction is complete. Tenants at the new 210 Gorge Road East will be a mix of people with low incomes such as seniors, students, single-parent families and minimum wage workers, along with others who have been homeless.

This gift is the largest ever received in Cool Aid’s 50-year history, which began on June 10, 1968.

Additional funding for the redevelopment of Cedar Grove includes a $5 million capital investment from the Regional Housing First Program, a partnership between the Province, the Capital Regional District (CRD) and CMHC; and a Regional Housing Trust Fund grant of $600,000 grant. Island Health is also a partner in the program by committing to providing health supports to tenants, where required.

– END –

Information: CoolAid.org/cedargrove         ssabc.ca

Sister Joyce Harris, Province Co-Leader, Sisters of St. Ann, 250-592-3088, jharris@ssabc.ca

Kathy Stinson, CEO, 250-414-4792, kstinson@CoolAid.org

The Sisters of Saint Ann have served in the Pacific Northwest for 160 years, providing quality education and health care, regardless of ability to pay. Founded to educate children in rural areas, especially those excluded from education and whose parents suffered from exploitation, The Sisters of Saint Ann chose to educate children so that they could become agents of their own lives as adults and challenge the oppressive forces affecting their lives. They believed that each person has the dignity of a child of God and deserves to have the opportunity to develop to her/his full potential. These same motivations impel the Sisters of Saint Ann today to provide resources to help individuals to attain the fullness of life and foster communities that support the dignity of all persons. They are especially concerned for women, children and youth and those who experience economic and social exclusion.

Homelessness and poverty are issues that touch many of us and impact more lives than you may realize. As the largest provider of services to the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness in Greater Victoria, the Victoria Cool Aid Society is a key player in the work to end homelessness. Cool Aid advocates for and provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, integrated healthcare and other support services to the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals in the Capital Regional District. Each year, Cool Aid serves over 12,000 adults and seniors facing multiple challenges of poverty, unemployment, mental health and substance use, chronic health issues, brain injury and aging. Cool Aid was founded on June 10, 1968 and is celebrating 50 years of community service in 2018.

Pharmacy Inquiry

Please use the form below to let us know your pharmacy needs. You can also reach the pharmacy at:

  • Access Health Centre, 713 Johnson Street, 1st Floor, 250-385-8469, pharmacy@CoolAid.org
  • Hours: Mon, Tue 9 – 6 pm, Wed, Thur 9 – 8 pm, Fri 9 – 3 pm, Sat 10 – 2 pm, Closed Sundays and statutory holidays

Cool Aid Pharmacy

The Cool Aid Pharmacy, conveniently located in Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre at 713 Johnson Street downtown, provides prescription medicines for thousands of patients. If you are a patient of the Health Centre, or even if you are not, you are welcome to get your medicines with us.

Let us know your needs by filling out our online Pharmacy Inquiry Form.

Who We Are

Health and wellness is our number one priority here at the Cool Aid Pharmacy and Health Centre. We have offered services since 2001, with a team that is experienced, knowledgeable and professional. We believe that everyone should have access to affordable medications. We also believe that everyone should be able to safely and effectively take their medications in the way that best suits their needs.

Why Choose Cool Aid?

By receiving your prescription needs through the Cool Aid Pharmacy, you will directly be supporting the vision and goals of our Community Health Centre to reduce the significant barriers that can affect basic access to health services. The Cool Aid Pharmacy provides:

  • prescription and over-the-counter medications affordable for all
  • full access to our pharmacy team with excellent hours of availability
  • accuracy, efficacy, and safety with all dispensed medications

Complimentary Delivery

Our free delivery to some Cool Aid tenants includes:

  • blister packaging of medications, vitamins, minerals, supplements
  • scheduled weekly deliveries
  • coordination with your doctor about medication management
  • flexible coverage for medication to meet your needs

Give us a call at 250-383-5934 to see if we are able to deliver to your home.


Location, Hours and Contact Info

Access Health Centre, 713 Johnson Street, 1st Floor, 250-385-8469, pharmacy@CoolAid.org

Hours: Mon, Tue 9 – 6 pm, Wed, Thur 9 – 8 pm, Fri 9 – 3 pm, Sat 10 – 2 pm, Closed Sundays and statutory holidays

Pharmacy Inquiry Form

 

Sharla Godmaire, Director

Sharla Godmaire is a Chartered Professional Accountant who works with a wide variety of clients in public practice. Her focus remains on corporate tax, but she has also gained experience in the taxation of trusts and individuals, as well as audit and review engagements. Sharla moved to Victoria in 2010 to attend the University of Victoria, where she obtained her Bachelor of Commerce and quickly grew attached to the city.

Sharla is passionate about helping others and improving quality of life. She is excited to be involved with the Victoria Cool Aid Society and their diverse programs that help the community.

Cool Aid Celebrates 50 Years of Community Service

On June 10, 1968,  Cool Aid began with the installation of a youth hotline to help transient youth in need. Later that year, the Cool Aid Hostel opened its doors.

Our mission was to provide short-term, emergency shelter to transient youth travelling the country. Quickly realizing the increasing local need for further shelter and health services, we established the “Cool Aid Free Medical Clinic” in 1970. In 1972, we launched our first dental clinic. By 1976, the Victoria Cool Aid Society was formally established.

In 2018, Cool Aid is celebrating 50 years of community service with a number of very special projects described below.


Love In

The first official Canadian “Love In” was held right here in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park back in 1967. The founders of Cool Aid Society were an integral part of this celebration, bringing together people of all ages and social stature to share music and compassion for others. As Cool Aid celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Victoria, we would like to once again create a place where all people can gather and celebrate our shared humanity. Join us on Sunday, July 22nd, from 12 to 4 pm, in Centennial Square for this family-friendly event. An afternoon of music, food, art, face painting and of course peace, love and flower power!


Homecoming Presented by Knappett Projects logo

Homecoming 50th Anniversary Gala

Saturday, May 26 was a special night of celebrating Cool Aid’s 50th Anniversary and the community’s generosity, raising over $140,000 for Cool Aid programs, featuring comfort foods with a twist and fine local beverages, live music, an auction and a chance to double donations thanks to the generosity of Andrew Beckerman and Waste Connections.

Stay tuned for details on Homecoming 2019.


Indigenous Carving

Cool Aid acknowledges and is honoured to build homes, lives and community within the traditional territories of the TEECHA

MITSA and SWENGWHUNG (Songhees) and KOSAMPSON (Esquimalt) Nations of the LEKWUNGEN and WSÁNEĆ Peoples. This 50th Anniversary year we honour our connection to Indigenous peoples. Master Carver Carey Newman who was the creator of “Dancing Wind”, featured at the 2010 Olympic Games, will mentor Cool Aid Indigenous tenant carvers in creating a public art installation. This public art installation will be created in order to showcase the artistic abilities of the First Nations population in Victoria and to thank the community for 50 years of support. The ten-foot totem carving will be placed in a highly visible public site to be viewed by locals and visitors alike and become a point of interest in the Victoria cultural landscape.

Cool Aid thanks the British Columbia Arts Council, the Government of British Columbia and master carver Carey Newman for their generous support of this project.


Outdoor Mural

In early August, a professional mural artist will paint a 40’ X 25’ mural on the side of Swift House, Cool Aid and the Province’s first supportive housing building (1991), in the downtown core, which faces the new Pandora Street bridge. The mural will be a celebration of hope and the journey toward peace for all people. As a way to give back to the community 50 years of support, this public art piece is for everyone; a form of collective community expression. As we celebrate Cool Aid’s 50th anniversary in Victoria our hope is that this mural will be a lasting testament to the importance of wrapping our arms around the most vulnerable to create a safe, welcoming environment for all.

 


Open Houses

On June 1st from 1:30 to 6 pm, Cool Aid Society welcomed the public to open houses at four of our 18 properties. We showcased these special programs that are such an integral part of Victoria’s solution to house and support the most vulnerable people in our community: Sandy Merriman House for women, Mount Edwards Court’s seniors housing, the Downtown Community Centre and the Community Health Centre.

 


Play on 50s

Cool Aid has an interesting and deep 50-year history serving the Greater Victoria region. In honour of this history we developed a project to showcase the history of Cool Aid and its accomplishments through a collection of visuals including historic photographs and posters. This project is shaped to be of interest to a broad audience of varying ages and socio-economic backgrounds. From June 14 through August 20 the Downtown Community Centre at 755 Pandora Avenue will host an exhibition with 50 historical framed photos and Cool Aid client art. Stop by the Community Centre (755 Pandora Avenue) to enjoy some of Victoria’s most unique history and don’t forget to purchase some original art or an old, framed photo when you’re there.


Pride Parade

On Sunday, July 8th, Cool Aid Society will take part in the Victoria Pride Parade and celebrate not only our 50th Anniversary, but the inclusion and empowerment of all people. Say “hi” when we make our way past you walking along with our Cool van and 50 balloons. It’s going to be a fun, creative and inspiring day!

Those Cool Years At The Old Cool Aid Hostel

by Mark Idczak, Cool Aid resident

When the plans for the new shelter Rock Bay Landing were announced tears and cries of outrage were heard from some of the immediate neighbours.

When the old Cool Aid Hostel opened over 40 years ago in the quaint bohemian Fernwood neighbourhood there were similar fears. Back then the street population was comprised of a dozen older alcoholics and winos that had fallen from grace while sporting apparent gin blossoms on their face.  Some of them had fascinating lives and tales to tell.

There were other people that may have been hard to house. And surprisingly enough, travellers from all around the world stayed there, as the Cool Aid Hostel at the Belfry was the only functioning Hostel in Victoria until the Canadian Youth Hostel opened up in the 1980s on Lower Yates Street.

When I was in need of shelter, it was a positive experience staying there. Some of the out-of-towners referred to the Belfry Cool Aid Hostel as “The Villa.”

Victoria and the neighbourhood was home to many colourful Dickens-like characters and special memories. Most of the original staff have left to pursue careers elsewhere including some of those Cool Aid golden oldies I remember on staff like Tom and Shelia, Craig Butler, marvellous “Marni,” Flying Phil Ward, Lauri, Big Mike and Jim Beaubian.

As the wind blew and the fresh green grass grows, so came the wandering travellers, residents and hobos. If those walls could only talk in the present Belfrey Theatre you would hear the delightfully sarcastic Wilma Sempson, Old Joe and Shannon, Jeremey Leudon and that loveable Kiwi Lioness, Clair Ferrar with her mane of golden hair and her roaring warm laugh. Whether you were in the dorm or dining room, the wind would briskly blow the trees along the window panes. People’s needs sent the Hostel downtown and an expanding need to progress to its present location.

The green grass still grows near the old and present shelter and the wind blows as the Cool Aid Hostel and its residents needs continually grows.

Tally Ho – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why Do This at the Tally Ho?

Why was the Tally Ho site chosen by BC Housing and Cool Aid?

What are the Next Steps for Redevelopment of the site?

What is the timeline for moving residents into the Tally Ho site?

Who Will Live At and Visit the Tally Ho?

Who will live in these apartments?

Will guests be allowed at the Tally Ho?

What are the expectations of the residents?

Will the people living at the Tally Ho be employed?

Will you allow pets at the Tally Ho?

Tell Us About Support Services At the Tally Ho

What is “Supportive Housing”?

What kind of on-site supports will be provided to the supportive housing residents?

Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?

Will there be a safe injection site at the Tally Ho or any drop-in services?

What does “low barrier” mean?

How Will You Ensure the Safety of Neighbours?

How will you maintain the safety and security of all residents if there are high needs residents on-site?

How will Cool Aid assist with maintaining safety and security in our neighbourhoods?

Will there be security on-site?

Communication and Contact Information

How will Cool Aid and BC Housing communicate with us as the redevelopment plans progress?

If I have any questions or concerns who should I contact?


Why Do This at the Tally Ho?

Why was the Tally Ho site chosen by BC Housing and Cool Aid?

The Tally Ho was purchased in March 2017, as part of the Provincial Government’s housing initiatives. Given the current real estate market conditions in Victoria, finding suitable sites for supportive and affordable rental housing is challenging, particularly ones that can be repurposed quickly as an emergency response.

The Tally Ho site was unique in that it offered the opportunity to accommodate urgently needed supportive housing for the community with only minor renovations.  At the same time, the redevelopment potential of the site means that there is an opportunity to achieve a higher density, mixed use (both commercial and residential) on the site.

The goal of Cool Aid’s redevelopment plan is twofold: to develop an asset which achieves a mix of supportive housing and affordable rental housing on the site; and which honours the community’s goals and vision for the Burnside Gorge area.  Cool Aid Society will collaborate with the neighbourhood on the visioning for this development.

The key factors which contribute to making the Tally Ho an appropriate site for supportive housing under the Temporary Use Permit include:

  • A controlled access to the building where staff can easily interact and support residents and neighbours to ensure that security is maintained.
  • Internal spaces for use by the residents which decreases loitering outside of the building.
  • A commercial kitchen and dining area for meal preparation and dining.
  • Close proximity to the employment, counselling and health care services which Cool Aid provides downtown.
  • Close proximity to Mayfair Mall, many bus routes and Topaz Park.


What are the Next Steps for Redevelopment of the site?

Re-development of the site will be led by the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

Cool Aid is currently holding a series of community meetings with local residents to further define the vision for the site.  The format of these meeting are interactive and focussed on exploring the community’s vision for this site and their neighbourhood.  To see when the next meeting is being held please visit www.CoolAid.org/tallyho.

The timeline for re-development of the site is:

  • Completion of planning and schematic design process: April 2018
  • Completion of full schematic design and rezoning process: October 2018
  • Completion design development and contract drawings process: March 2019
  • Completion of contract tendering and Building Permit: May 2019
  • Construction and occupancy: November 2020.


What is the timeline for moving residents into the Tally Ho site?

The Tally Ho is currently being renovated to make it more appropriate for housing people for up to three years. We expect that all 52 apartments will be filled on or before March 31, 2018.


Who Will Live At and Visit the Tally Ho?

Who will live in these apartments?

The 52 small apartments are intended for a wide variety of needs and ages, including mental health conditions, addictions, head injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome for men and women who have been homeless and require housing and support services.

All people housed at the Tally Ho will have been previously homeless, with 36 individuals scheduled to move from the Choices Transitional Home operated by Our Place (closing by March 31, 2018) and 12 individuals moving from Mount Edwards operated by Cool Aid (they don’t meet the upcoming age or recovery restrictions).

We know through the use of the Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) that of these residents 43% have low support needs, 42% have medium support needs and 15% have high support needs.

Demographically, we know that 37% are female and 63% are male. Regarding their ages, 8% are in their 20’sp; 27% in their 30’s; 27% in their 40’s; and 38% are over 50.

Both of these resident groups have been stabilized in their current communities and are motivated to continue to work on their individual goals.


Will guests be allowed at the Tally Ho?

Cool Aid’s guest policies are different from building to building and are negotiated with the tenants and based on the advice of on-site staff.  All of our housing buildings are covered under the Residential Tenancy Act which supports the rights and responsibilities of tenants including the ability to restrict unwanted visitors on a case-by-case basis.

The current residents of both Choices and Mount Edwards have collectively agreed to restrict guest access to their respective buildings.


What are the expectations of the residents?

At the Tally Ho, there will be dedicated staff (Client Service Workers and Residential Service Workers) who will work with residents to develop and implement their own personal goal plans for improving health, gaining meaningful employment, and reintegrating into community. These plans could also include strategies and training opportunities around addiction treatment, trauma recovery, behaviour management, volunteering and ready-to-rent programs.

At minimum, Cool Aid requires that all residents respect the safety and security of other residents, guests and staff in and around our buildings, including our local neighbourhood communities. We work closely with our area police departments and cooperate fully with any investigations or concerns that arise. Our goal is to support our residents to be successful in maintaining housing, reducing antisocial behaviours, and positively contributing to the community. If problems persist, other options such as transferring to another building may be considered.


Will the people living at the Tally Ho be employed?

A number of people who live in Cool Aid housing, including some of those who will be moving into the Tally Ho, have regular jobs, as well as casual work. (This is also true of people staying in emergency shelters, like Rock Bay Landing and Sandy Merriman House.)

As well, Cool Aid has a longstanding policy of providing employment training opportunities for residents who want to gain some skills and earn a bit of money. Their janitorial contributions help build community and pride within the apartment building as well as providing new skills.

Other Cool Aid programs also provide employment training and placement opportunities for our residents and other clients:

  • Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool provides a free placement service for employers and casual workers who are available, trained and ready to work, including home owners who need help gardening, moving or with other needs.
  • The Downtown Community Centre, operated by Cool Aid at 755 Pandora Avenue near City Hall, provides employment training opportunities, lifeskills courses and healthy recreation opportunities for our residents and others. The free Community Kitchen program, for example, provides training in nutrition, food purchasing, preparation and storage, and leads to a Food Safe certification for participants.
  • The Beacon Services-Cool Aid Thrift Shop at 715 Pandora Avenue provides Cool Aid clients with employment training opportunities in retail operations as well as an inexpensive place to purchase clothing, household goods and other needed essentials.


Will you allow pets at the Tally Ho?

Pets are very important to people who have been homeless which is why all Cool Aid housing buildings, including the Tally Ho, welcome our clients’ pets.

One of Cool Aid’s supporters is the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS), whose donors provide a significant amount of food for pets who are living with Cool Aid clients.

As well, Cool Aid has set up a “Pets In Need Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation to help our clients with some of their pet expenses, such as operations, thanks to a generous bequest in his will from the late Carl Young.


Tell Us About Support Services At the Tally Ho

What is “Supportive Housing”?

Supportive housing is subsidized housing with on-site staff to support the tenants. Professional housing workers help clients stay well by providing a range of on-site services including: community development, meals, laundry, life skills training, connections to primary health care, mental health and substance use services.


What kind of on-site supports will be provided to the supportive housing residents?

This building is well supported by a larger-than-usual complement of professional staff, which includes a minimum of at least two housing workers on site 24/7/365, as well as an on-site Team Leader and a Client Services Worker to help tenants with their long-term plans. As well, kitchen staff, visiting nurses and other Cool Aid staff will be in the building to deliver services regularly. John Sherratt, the Housing Manager responsible for this building will be onsite regularly and is available by email: jSherratt@CoolAid.org

  • Professional staff assist residents with goal setting and case planning, including assistance with employment and housing readiness.
  • One hot nutritious meal and a light breakfast are provided daily.
  • Health supports are on-site weekly. Addiction and recovery supports are provided including referrals to other organizations such as Umbrella or programs like AA, NA or LifeRing.
  • Life skills programming include financial and budgeting education.
  • Cool Aid will create a “clean and safe” team to support pre-employment goals and help keep the neighbourhood free of litter and other debris.


Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?

Yes, Cool Aid utilizes a Balanced Scorecard methodology to measure our progress towards meeting our strategic objectives and reports out annually to the community. Cool Aid has also been featured in local and national research as an example of best practices in supportive housing. There are also a number of reports and research papers on our website highlighting the effectiveness of supportive housing in addressing issues of homelessness.


Will there be a safe injection site at the Tally Ho or any drop-in services?

No. There will not be a safe injection site at the Tally Ho, nor any drop-in services. All services are for residents only.


What does “low barrier” mean?

Low barrier does not mean no or low expectations. Low barrier housing and services means that a person can access them no matter their level of need. Insisting that people become “clean” before providing them with safe and secure housing simply keeps people homeless for longer – leading to more problems in neighbourhood and more cost to the system.

What works better is harm reduction and housing first, where people are accepted no matter what their condition, helped to stabilize in housing, and then encouraged to work on whatever challenges have caused them to become homeless.

As well, residents who are still active in their addictions are allowed to use within their own apartments rather than out in the community. Residents are encouraged to use safely by engaging in a buddy system or alerting staff to check in on them.


How Will You Ensure the Safety of Neighbours?


How will you maintain the safety and security of all residents if there are high needs residents on-site?

Professional staff onsite 24/7, security cameras, attention to exterior lighting and landscaping and our experience providing secure housing make this possible.

Cool Aid currently manages 13 apartment buildings in Langford, Victoria and Saanich, for people with a variety of levels of support need in addition to their need for low-cost, safe and secure housing. With two noted exceptions, the buildings have zero impact on their neighbourhoods. While this may sound counter-intuitive, the fact that people have been able to obtain housing, in many cases after years of being homeless, motivates important changes in their behaviours, as does the support of our professional staff helping them to recover and stabilize.

We invite you to have a look any one of our apartment buildings, which you can read about at www.CoolAid.org/housing, and check one out close to you. If you would like a formal tour, please contact our Director of Residential Services, Don McTavish at 250-383-1977 or dmctavish@CoolAid.org.


How will Cool Aid assist with maintaining safety and security in our neighbourhoods?

The operating agreement with BC Housing includes funding for two staff members to be on-site 24 hours/ 7 days per week.  The contact information for the building will be made available to our community neighbors so that we can respond to concerns quickly. Should any issues arise that necessitate emergency services, Cool Aid staff will contact police or ambulance as needed.

Cool Aid Society staff are trained to manage any situations that might arise in our supportive housing settings.  It should be noted that such incidents almost always occur within the building and not in the neighbourhood.


Will there be security on-site?

Cool Aid is exploring with BC Housing the feasibility of a shared security service, on a trial basis between the Douglas Street Community property and the Tally Ho.


Communication and Contact Information

How will Cool Aid and BC Housing communicate with us as the redevelopment plans progress?

Cool Aid and BC Housing will use a variety of means to communicate with neighbours, including:

  • Community consultations to co-develop a vision for the property that fits with neighbourhood values. For the next meeting date visit CoolAid.org/tallyho.
  • Letter drops to nearby neighbours.
  • Communication with the Burnside Gorge Community Association and its Land Use Committee.
  • Stories in the mass media.
  • Cool Aid’s social media channels, which can be found at CoolAid.org/social.


If I have any questions or concerns who should I contact?

Once operations are up and running at the Tally Ho we will provide a 24/7 contact number for on-site staff.

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, please feel free to contact:

John Sherratt, Manager, Supportive Housing (Tally Ho, Cedar Grove, Mount Edwards), 250-383-1977 or jsherratt@CoolAid.org

Don McTavish, Director of Residential Services, 250-383-1977 or dmctavish@CoolAid.org

or Kathy Stinson, CEO, 250-383-1977 or kstinson@CoolAid.org

You can also contact Don McTavish if you would like a tour of the Tally Ho or any of our supportive housing buildings.

 

Learn more about Cool Aid at www.CoolAid.org and the Tally Ho at www.CoolAid.org/tallyho.

Cool Views 2018 – 50th Anniversary

View Cool Views 2018 — 50th Anniversary Edition.

Refreshed Cool Aid logo

Legacy Golf Tournament Raises Over $26,000

July 18, 2017 – This year’s Legacy Golf Tournament raised over $26,000 last Friday, thanks to our sponsors, auction donors, players and the hard work of the organizers from Hatch & Muir, Raymond James and Cool Aid. (The Legacy Golf Tournament brings together advisors in the financial industry with their clients and Cool Aid supporters for a fun day of golf and feasting at Bear Mountain.)

50% of the proceeds will help pay for new housing for people without homes and the other 50% will be invested in Cool Aid’s Endowment Fund to help pay for support services for our clients in perpetuity.

A huge thanks to Dave Fracy who organized the tournament and whose firm Hatch & Muir was the Presenting Sponsor, and a special shout out to tournament founder and sponsor Raymond James and Brad Clark.

Visit our Facebook photo gallery to see all the pictures.

 

A big thank you to all our generous sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor

Hatch & Muir

Platinum Sponsors

Raymond James
Dynamic Funds

Gold Sponsors

United Rentals
RBC Foundation


Hole Sponsors

BMO Asset Management
Ely & Associates – Raymond James
Field and Company
Homes & Buyers (Mark McDougall)
Invesco
Mackenzie Investments
Natixis Global Asset Management
NEI Investments
Royal Oak Burial Park
Sentry Investments
TD Asset Management
Vertex One Asset Management
Invis (Hein Moes)

Sandy Merriman Open House & Garden Reveal

May 24, 2017 — Sandy Merriman House, Cool Aid’s emergency shelter for women, had an extensive interior renovation this last year and this week a transformation of the landscaping is being completed. The public is welcome to our Garden Reveal and Open House this Friday, May 26 from 1:30 to 4 pm, with the official garden opening by Mayor Lisa Helps at 2 pm. (Sandy Merriman House is located at 809 Burdette Avenue, across from the courthouse.)

“We feel very lucky to be able to provide our residents with the improved environment they so deserve,” said Sandy Merriman House Manager Christine O’Brien. “We are especially grateful that our beautiful new garden is a major gift from local businesses. We were first approached with the idea by Red Door Landscape Services and Heritage Masonry, who have led the landscaping team.”

“Red Door is pleased to have partnered with Sandy Merriman House to bring about a garden that will provide a calming sanctuary for its staff and clients,” said owner Logan Thomas. “In our eyes, the challenge to running a successful business is how to make an impact in the community on top of the services we deliver for our clients.”

“Every company has unique resources and we believe they should be put to use by actively leading volunteer initiatives,” said Gavin Chamberlain, owner of Heritage Masonry. “This project is the culmination of various individuals and businesses working together to produce a space that symbolizes elements of transition, peacefulness and shelter.”

– 30 –

Information: CoolAid.org/smh

Christine O’Brien, 250-480-1408, cobrien@CoolAid.org

Logan Thomas, Red Door Landscape Services, 250-217-9920, logan@reddoor.ca

Gavin Chamberlain, Heritage Masonry, 250-812-4499, gavin@heritagemasons.ca

 

Homelessness and poverty are issues that touch many of us and impact more lives than you may realize. As the largest provider of services to the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness in Greater Victoria, the Victoria Cool Aid Society is a key player in the work to end homelessness.  Cool Aid advocates for and provides emergency shelter, supportive housing, integrated healthcare, the Downtown Community Centre and other support services to the most marginalized and vulnerable individuals in the Capital Regional District. Each year, Cool Aid serves 10,000 adults and seniors facing multiple challenges of poverty, unemployment, mental health and substance use, chronic health issues, brain injury and aging.

draft Cedar Grove FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions are below.

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 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 16 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich – including 12 supportive housing apartment buildings. The Society’s major campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home — including our proposed redevelopment of the Cedar Grove property.

The Cedar Grove property at 210 Gorge Road East was originally designed as a motel, and while we have been fortunate to house 21 individuals there since 2006, the property is poorly designed for permanent residence. A redevelopment provides an opportunity to add additional affordable housing for the neighbourhood, create a tasteful new building that fits into the community, and to create a better living space for everyone.

The FAQ below (Frequently Asked Questions) has been prepared to answer some of the most common questions we hear about Cedar Grove.

Contact information can be found below should you want to speak to someone from Cool Aid or are interested in a tour of Cedar Grove or other Cool Aid programs; an opportunity to meet our staff and tenants.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to read the answer.

Who Lives at Cedar Grove?

What Will the Neighbourhood Impacts Be?

What About Neighbourhood Consultation and Rezoning?


Answers to Questions


Question:
Who will live in these apartments?

Answer: There is going to be a mix of tenants at Cedar Grove.

Most of the apartments (50 of 81) will be for people who cannot afford regular Victoria rents, including students, seniors and low income workers.

The remaining apartments are reserved for the existing 21 tenants who wish to move back to Cedar Grove when the construction is completed and for another 10 adults. These 31 apartments are intended for people with a wide variety of needs and ages, including mental health conditions, addictions, head injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome, for men and women who have been homeless and require housing and support services.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Will you allow pets at Cedar Grove or do you at any of your other apartment buildings?

Answer: Most Cool Aid properties, including Cedar Grove, welcome our tenant’s pets.

In fact, one of Cool Aid’s supporters is the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS), whose donors provide a significant amount of food for pets who are living with Cool Aid clients.

As well, Cool Aid has set up a “Pets In Need Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation to help our clients with some of their pet expenses, such as operations, thanks to a generous bequest in his will from the late Carl Young.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Will the people living at Cedar Grove be employed?

Answer: It might surprise neighbours to learn that many, perhaps a majority, of the people who will live at Cedar Grove will have regular jobs, as well as casual work.

As well, Cool Aid has a longstanding policy of providing employment training opportunities for residents who want to gain some skills and earn a bit of money. Their janitorial contributions help build community and pride within the apartment buildings as well as providing new skills.

Other Cool Aid programs also provide employment training and placement opportunities for our residents and other clients:

  • Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool provides a free placement service for employers and casual workers who are available, trained and ready to work, including home owners who need help gardening, moving or with other needs.
  • The Downtown Community Centre, operated by Cool Aid at 755 Pandora Avenue near City Hall, provides employment training opportunities, lifeskills courses and healthy recreation opportunities for our residents and others. The free Community Kitchen program, for example, provides training in nutrition, food purchasing, preparation and storage, and leads to a Food Safe certification for participants.

The Beacon Services-Cool Aid Thrift Shop at 715 Pandora Avenue provides Cool Aid clients with employment training opportunities in retail operations as well as an inexpensive place to purchase clothing, household goods and other needed essentials.

Back to questions near top


Question:
 Where will the current residents live when the existing buildings are demolished?

Answer: Cool Aid is committed to ensuring that no one is made homeless when the old buildings are demolished. We will offer existing tenants the opportunity to move into other Cool Aid buildings and apartments operated by other local, non-profit organizations. As well — every tenant will have the right to claim a new apartment at the new Cedar Grove if they wish to return.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?

Answer: Yes, Cool Aid utilizes a Balanced Scorecard methodology to measure our progress towards meeting our strategic objectives and reports out annually to the community. Cool Aid has also been featured in local and national research as an example of best practices in supportive housing.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Will there be any drop in services  at Cedar Grove?

Answer: No. Support staff and services are only for tenants.

Back to questions near top


Question:
How will staff support the residents and neighbourhood at Cedar Grove?

Answer: Cedar Grove will be staffed 24/7 by Cool Aid’s professional housing support workers, who are there to assist the tenants and help out with any neighbourhood concerns and suggestions.

Back to questions near top


Questions:
What are your expectations of the residents?

Answers: At minimum, Cool Aid requires that all residents behave in appropriate ways both in the building and the neighbourhood. Any resident that is unable to be a good neighbour will be asked and assisted to help change any antisocial behaviours. If they are unsuccessful, the person may be moved to another building or evicted if necessary.

Back to questions near top


Question: Is there a process for neighbourhood input and consultation?

Answer: Cedar Grove is currently zoned for “transient” housing, i.e. hotel zoning.

Before the old buildings are demolished and a brand new one is constructed, there will be a full rezoning process as well as a development permit application, both of which allow for community input and consultation. These processes will be attended to by Cool Aid and managed by the City of Victoria and the Burnside Gorge Community Association.

Cool Aid looks forward to working with the Community Association and neighbours to design the best building possible for this location which allows for affordable and supportive housing to continue at 210 Gorge Road East and provides more housing for people with low incomes.

Back to questions near top


Additional Information:

Cedar Grove main page

Tours or more info about Cool Aid: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781

Additional Housing Campaign Information

Help End Homeless campaign to house 360 people

Nance’s Salute to Sandy Merriman House

Walking into Sandy Merriman House, the day we were to interview Nance, we were instantly greeted with the sweet melody of a guitar and an unknown singer. Once led down the stairs into a quiet room, there was Nance though, with a guitar on her lap and a note on her tongue — we had found the source of that sweet melody!

Nance is a well-known singer in the online world. Having recorded multiple songs to the virtual world over the past several years, and written hundreds of songs as well, she is a lover of all things music. Ironically, Nance has never sung here in Victoria. We hope that you will take a listen to her song and share it with everyone too.

Besides her phenomenal singing voice, Nance has a warmth and kindness that reaches out from her the moment you meet. She is currently staying at Cool Aid’s women’s shelter, Sandy Merriman House, and has made connections not only with the staff, but with the people living there too.

“The staff here are so friendly—they are amazing and that is why I wrote the song. The word Merriman, Merriman kept tumbling through my head so I started writing. The song came together in less than ten minutes and it became a kind of salute to the staff. It is the least I could do to thank them and all they have done for me during this difficult time in my life.”

Nance and her partner found themselves unexpectedly evicted when some unforeseen medical complications left them with some large bills. They had a short time to collect their things, pack up, and found themselves on the street. However, through a friend of a friend, they were put in touch with Kim at Our Place Society. Kim knew instantly that the best place for them to be at was Sandy Merriman House. Quickly putting things into action, Nance and her partner gained shelter, resources and a community in a very short period of time.

“We are so grateful… we have a community here.”


To hear more from our interview with Nance, check it out her story  along with our other client stories. Plus, don’t forget to check out our social media feeds and share her song!

Spunky Susan Has A Lot of Life Left to Live

Susan has been a client of Cool Aid for the past six years. She is a wonderful mix of spunk, generosity, happiness and fun all bundled up in her petite, five-foot frame. At 67, Susan has already done so much in her life — but as she told us, “I am going to live to 103 — I still have a lot of living left to do!”

Susan Next Steps 2017Susan spent most of her early life raising her two kids and working in various restaurants. Her passion is found in cooking and it turned into a career for her when she was younger. She had worked as a line cook, a chef, a server — you name it she did it! Still to this day, Susan loves to cook, and her dream is to be able to one day offer cooking lessons, free of charge, to those in assisted living facilities.

Her story takes a turn though, from raising kids and cooking, to having go through two brain aneurisms and a very serious brain surgery several years ago. Over time and other circumstances, this lead to Susan finding herself homeless.

As Susan told us: “If you had told me six years ago I would have been homeless, I would have said you were nuts! You know — it all happened so quickly.”

But Susan didn’t let this slow her down one bit. Being put in contact with Cool Aid staff, they worked hard to find her a home, a community she could be a part of, and to help her begin to re-establish her life.

“My friends Vic and Cheryl — they are my walking, talking Angels!” Susan was quick to tell us.

“Cool Aid has been wonderful — they have helped me so much with finding shelter and all of that. They are great!”

Susan holds a special place in the staff’s hearts. She is always teasing other residents, telling stories, and of course, cooking. Susan’s message to everyone is to keep living life to the fullest — to be grateful for each and every day you get out of bed in the morning, no matter what your circumstances. Her full interview and message to everyone can be viewed here:

To say the least — we could all learn a bit from Susan, and remember to be thankful for everything life has to offer us — no matter where we may find ourselves tomorrow.

DRAFT Mount Edwards Court FAQ

Mount Edwards FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions are below.

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 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 16 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich – including 12 supportive housing apartment buildings. The Society’s major campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home — and Mount Edwards were the first new ones available for occupancy.

The Mount Edwards property at 1002 Vancouver Street is well designed for the purpose – and currently houses 38 individuals on the main floor. Other features include a dining area, lounge, offices for support staff and a large interior courtyard.

The FAQ below (Frequently Asked Questions) has been prepared to answer some of the most common questions we hear about Mount Edwards Court.

Contact information can be found below should you want to speak to someone from Cool Aid or are interested in a tour of existing Mount Edwards or other Cool Aid programs; an opportunity to meet our staff and tenants.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to read the answer.

Who Lives at Mount Edwards Court?

What About Mental Illness, Drugs and Addictions?

Aren’t Neighbourhood Impacts Unacceptable?

What About Neighbourhood Consultation and Rezoning?


Answers to Questions


Question:
Who will live in these apartments?

Answer: The profile of residents in Mount Edwards is very similar to the existing profile of residents served in all of Cool Aid’s other ten supportive housing buildings: 70% male and 30% female; about 40% between 19 and 39 years old, 47% between 40 and 55 years, and 13% over 55.

All people housed in Mount Edwards Court have been previously homeless.

The 38 small apartments are intended for a wide variety of needs and ages, including mental health conditions, addictions, head injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome for men and women who have been homeless and require housing and support services. Cool Aid’s job is to find appropriate, permanent housing for all residents.

Back to questions near top

Question: What are your screening criteria for Mount Edwards residents?

Answer: The screening process is a complex one that includes:

  • the use of a vulnerability assessment tool
  • interviewing the prospective tenants
  • talking with our staff, other service providers and helping professionals who know the candidates, and
  • weighing their suitability for the current mix of residents and the neighbourhood

The goal is to create a mix of residents that is balanced and manageable, while providing a high level of support for those who need it.

Back to questions near top

Question: Why don’t you do Criminal Record checks on prospective tenants? How can you ensure that sex offenders are screened out?

In British Columbia, landlords and property managers acting on their behalf must adhere to the privacy rules contained in the BC Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). These guidelines are intended to assist landlords and property managers in discharging their duties under the Residential Tenancy Act (“RTA”) in a manner that respects the privacy of tenants and promotes transparency in the operation of landlord and tenant relationships.

A landlord cannot as a condition of renting or providing any service to a tenant, ask for consent to collect personal information beyond what is necessary to provide tenancy or that service. Requiring a criminal records check is not reasonably necessary.

Sex offenders are on strict orders that prohibit them from being in areas where children are in close proximity. They must report their address to their probation / parole officer who would preclude them from residing at Mount Edwards; or indeed any apartment building in close proximity to a school.

Back to questions near top


Question: How are you finding permanent homes for the people now living in Mount Edwards Court, when there are so few vacant apartments in Victoria and considering how expensive they are?

Answer: This question underscores the fact that there are currently not enough affordable rentals in the Capital Region. In the long term, the solution is continued construction of permanent affordable and supportive housing by all levels of government.

In the short term, Cool Aid is committed to finding permanent homes for the residents living in Mount Edwards Court. We do this by moving some of the residents who need a higher level of support into our other eleven apartment buildings, some into apartments operated by other non-profit organizations, and some into regular “market” apartments by subsidizing their rental costs and providing on-site support as needed. As of February 2017, twenty residents had been moved out of Mount Edwards into permanent housing.

Cool Aid’s long-term goal is, with community support, to build 360 more supportive housing apartments to help address this critical community need. Mount Edwards apartments were the first.

Back to questions near top

Question: Are guests allowed at Mount Edwards Court?

Answer: Cool Aid does not allow guests into the building to ensure that residents feel safe in their homes.

Back to questions near top

Question: I know a lot of street people have pets. Do you allow pets at Mount Edwards Court or any of your other eleven apartment buildings?

Answer: Pets are very important to people who have been homeless which is why most Cool Aid properties, including Mount Edwards, welcome our clients’ pets.

In fact, one of Cool Aid’s supporters is the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS), whose donors provide a significant amount of food for pets who are living with Cool Aid clients.

As well, Cool Aid has set up a “Pets In Need Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation to help our clients with some of their pet expenses, such as operations, thanks to a generous bequest in his will from the late Carl Young.

Back to questions near top

Question: Are the people living at Mount Edwards Court employed?

Answer: It might surprise neighbours to learn that a significant number of people who live in Cool Aid housing, including Mount Edwards, have regular jobs, as well as casual work. (This is also true of people staying in emergency shelters, like Rock Bay Landing and Sandy Merriman House.)

As well, Cool Aid has a longstanding policy of providing employment training opportunities for residents who want to gain some skills and earn a bit of money. Their janitorial contributions help build community and pride within the apartment buildings as well as providing new skills.

Other Cool Aid programs also provide employment training and placement opportunities for our residents and other clients:

  • Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool provides a free placement service for employers and casual workers who are available, trained and ready to work, including home owners who need help gardening, moving or with other needs.
  • The Downtown Community Centre, operated by Cool Aid at 755 Pandora Avenue near City Hall, provides employment training opportunities, lifeskills courses and healthy recreation opportunities for our residents and others. The free Community Kitchen program, for example, provides training in nutrition, food purchasing, preparation and storage, and leads to a Food Safe certification for participants.

The Beacon Services-Cool Aid Thrift Shop at 715 Pandora Avenue provides Cool Aid clients with employment training opportunities in retail operations as well as an inexpensive place to purchase clothing, household goods and other needed essentials.

Back to questions near top

Question: What are the expected outcomes for your residents?

Answer: Cool Aid’s agreement with the Province is quite clear about the expected outcomes for our residents. We are required to find permanent housing and any necessary supports that are needed for our Mount Edwards residents and help them move out. During that process, Cool Aid supports them in a variety of ways to improve their wellbeing, including help in locating employment, addiction treatment and improved health care.

As of February 2017, twenty of our Mount Edwards residents have been successfully moved into permanent housing elsewhere.

Back to questions near top

Question: Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?

Yes, Cool Aid utilizes a Balanced Scorecard methodology to measure our progress towards meeting our strategic objectives and reports out annually to the community. Cool Aid has also been featured in local and national research as an example of best practices in supportive housing.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Is it true that low barrier housing has been found to be detrimental to drug addiction recovery?

Answer: Perhaps counter-intuitively, the opposite has in fact been found. Insisting that people become “clean” before providing them with safe and secure housing simply keeps people homeless for longer – leading to more problems in neighbourhoods and more cost to taxpayers.

What works better is harm reduction and housing first, where people are accepted no matter what their condition, helped to stabilize in housing, and then encouraged to work on whatever challenges have caused them to become homeless.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Are there policies requiring residents to take prescribed medication for mental health conditions, and if so is this enforced through supervision?

Answer: One of the important roles that our round-the-clock Housing Support Workers provide is medication monitoring. As well, they interact with tenants every day to ensure that they are doing well and have all the support they need. When outside services are required, such as an ambulance, they are called in.

Back to questions near top


Question:
Will there be a safe injection site at Mount Edward?

Answer: No. There will be no drop-in services at the Mount Edward Court. Services are for residents only.

Back to questions near top


Question:
It sounds dangerous to house people with mental illness and addictions right beside Cathedral School. What assurances can you give that our children will not be harmed?

Answer: Sometimes when Cool Aid proposes a new apartment building neighbours are fearful. They often think that supportive housing looks like an emergency shelter or drop-in service where there can be spillover effects onto the sidewalk. Once we open and neighbours discover that the building is well managed and the residents well supported, there are very few problems or complaints. Check out the locations of our 15 facilities on this map.

Mount Edwards Court has been operating in the neighbourhood for over a year, since February 2016, and there have been zero reported incidents between our residents and school children or other neighbours.

Cool Aid’s own properties on the 700-block of Pandora Avenue provide an excellent example of how supportive housing can work well with neighbours, businesses and children nearby. 112 Cool Aid residents are housed on the block (including eight residents 19 years or younger) – from the same populations that Cool Aid is also housing at Mount Edwards Court.

The Downtown Community Centre is located immediately below/adjacent to 85 apartments for both adults and youth under 19 years.

Every weekday during the school year, groups of daycare providers rent the Community Centre’s gymnasium space for their preschool children to enjoy. As you can see from this letter from a daycare provider, this has been working well for over 20 years for both the preschoolers and Cool Aid residents who benefit from their positive energy and encourage each other to be respectful and positive. To quote the daycare provider from her letter:

“Never in this time [20 years] have I or my children ever felt intimidated by the residents/clients of the facilities. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The residents/clients take great delight in watching the children and sometimes interacting with them – always with care and politeness and only after we have spoken first. I encourage the children to talk to everyone and if too shy to at least smile. The older children now recognize some of the longer time residents/clients and run up to say hi or show a special treasure they have. I really think this benefits the children and the residents/clients.”

Leagh Lawrence, Pedal Pusher Daycare

Additionally, for many years, the site was a host of the Out of the Rain youth shelter, for youth 19 years or younger who are homeless.

Cool Aid would be pleased to tour you through one of our sites, including Mount Edwards Court, so you can see for yourself how well a staffed supportive housing building fits into a neighbourhood even with child and youth services on site.

For tour bookings or information, please call Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781 or email arycroft@CoolAid.org.

Back to questions near top


Question: Isn’t it true that Mount Edwards is a social experiment, providing supportive housing for such a large group beside an elementary school?

Answer: Mount Edwards Court is not a “social experiment”. There are numerous similiar projects located adjacent to schools in the Lower Mainland including Mole Hill & Lord Roberts Annex and Biltmore & Nightingale, which you can read about by clicking on the links.

Back to questions near top


Question:
How many staff are supporting the residents and neighbourhood at Mount Edwards Court?

Answer: Staffing levels are very high for just 38 residents and the neighbourhood.

Three professional resident support workers is the minimum staffing level at the site – that’s one staff person for each 13 residents — even during the middle of the night!

There is also a full-time Client Support Worker dedicated to assisting residents with their goal planning, such as finding work, a permanent home and healthcare. Additionally there are visiting professionals such as nurses during weekdays. Finally, there is janitorial/maintenance staff and meals are being prepared off-site at our Swift House kitchen.Mount Edwards has much higher staffing levels than Pandora Avenue, where we have successfully housed 112 residents for years with youth and child-serving programs on site every single day, including weekends.

We invite you to speak with our staff at Mount Edwards Court, or any other location, anytime. You can call Mount Edwards any hour of the day at 778-265-3456.

Back to questions near top

Questions: What are your expectations of the residents?

Answers: At Mount Edwards Court, there is a dedicated staff person who works with the residents on developing and implementing their own personal plans for community integration. This could include, for example, goals and strategies to find permanent housing, employment, addiction treatment and improved health care.

Different people have different levels of success in improving their situation and resolving challenges.

At minimum, Cool Aid requires that all residents behave in appropriate ways both in the building and the neighbourhood. Any resident that is unable to be a good neighbour will be asked and assisted to help change any antisocial behaviours. If they are unsuccessful, the person may be moved to another building or evicted if necessary.

Back to questions near top


Question: Is there a process for neighbourhood input and consultation?

Answer: See below (question about zoning).

Back to questions near top


Question:
Anyone who makes a modification to their home has to go through rezoning before proceeding. Why is the Province being allowed to do whatever they want in this building without a required rezoning?

Answer: By law, the Province has the right to avoid municipal zoning regulations.

However, the Province, the City of Victoria and Cool Aid have all publicly committed to a public rezoning process for Mount Edwards Court. In the meantime, members of the public are welcome to contact Cool Aid anytime.

Back to questions near top

Question: The BC Government has announced they intend to open up more apartments at Mount Edwards Count. Is that a good idea?

Answer: First off, the current plan has not changed — and that is to house and support up to 38 people who were formerly homeless and find them permanent housing.

Any other proposed uses of the building are still subject to a public rezoning process that the Province, Cool Aid and the City of Victoria have all committed to undertake.

After the rezoning process is completed, the neighbourhood will know with certainty what the long-term use of Mount Edwards Court will be.Back to questions near top


Additional Mount Edwards Information:

Mount Edwards main page

Housing First Research summary

Call Mount Edwards staff:  778-265-3456

Tours or more info about Cool Aid: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781

 

Additional Housing Campaign Information

Help End Homeless campaign to house 360 people

Relevant definitions


ORIGINAL FAQ

Mount Edwards FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions are below.

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 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 15 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich – including 11 supportive housing apartment buildings. The Society’s major campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home.

Our newest apartment building, the Mount Edwards property at 1002 Vancouver Street, is well designed for the purpose – and currently houses 38 individuals on the main floor. Other features include a dining area, lounge, offices for support staff and a large interior courtyard.

The FAQ below (Frequently Asked Questions) has been prepared to answer some of the most common questions we hear about Mount Edwards Court.

Contact information can be found below should you want to speak to someone from Cool Aid or are interested in a tour of existing Cool Aid housing and an opportunity to meet our staff and tenants.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to read the answer. This FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) is also available as a handout designed for printing and sharing.

Who Will Live There?

What About Mental Illness, Drugs and Addictions?

Aren’t Neighbourhood Impacts Unacceptable?

What About Neighbourhood Consultation and Rezoning?


Answers to Questions


Question:
Who will live in these apartments?

Answer: The profile of residents in Mount Edwards is very similar to the existing profile of residents served in all of Cool Aid’s other ten supportive housing buildings: 70% male and 30% female; about 40% between 19 and 39 years old, 47% between 40 and 55 years, and 13% over 55.

All people housed in Mount Edwards Court have been previously homeless and have stayed at the InTent City at the nearby courthouse.

The 38 small apartments are intended for a wide variety of needs and ages, including mental health conditions, addictions, head injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome for men and women who have been homeless and require housing and support services. Cool Aid’s job is to find appropriate, permanent housing by March 2017 for all residents.

Back to questions near top

Question: What are your screening criteria for Mount Edwards residents?

Answer: The screening process is a complex one that includes:

  • the use of a vulnerability assessment tool
  • interviewing the prospective tenants
  • talking with our staff, other service providers and helping professionals who know the candidates, and
  • weighing their suitability for the current mix of residents in the building

The goal is to create a mix of residents that is balanced and manageable, while providing a high level of support for those who need it.

Back to questions near top

Question: Why don’t you do Criminal Record checks on prospective tenants? How can you ensure that sex offenders are screened out?

In British Columbia, landlords and property managers acting on their behalf must adhere to the privacy rules contained in the BC Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). These guidelines are intended to assist landlords and property managers in discharging their duties under the Residential Tenancy Act (“RTA”) in a manner that respects the privacy of tenants and promotes transparency in the operation of landlord and tenant relationships.

A landlord cannot as a condition of renting or providing any service to a tenant, ask for consent to collect personal information beyond what is necessary to provide tenancy or that service. Requiring a criminal records check is not reasonably necessary.

Sex offenders are on strict orders that prohibit them from being in areas where children are in close proximity. They must report their address to their probation / parole officer who would preclude them from residing at Mount Edwards; or indeed any apartment building in close proximity to Cathedral School.

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Question: How will you find permanent homes for the people now living in Mount Edwards Court, when there are so few vacant apartments in Victoria and considering how expensive they are?

Answer: This question underscores the fact that there are currently not enough affordable rentals in the Capital Region. In the long term, the solution is continued construction of permanent affordable and supportive housing by all levels of government.

In the short term, Cool Aid is committed to finding permanent homes by April 2017 for the 38 residents who are now living in Mount Edwards Court. We will do this by moving some of the residents who need a higher level of support into our other ten apartment buildings, some into apartments operated by other non-profit organizations, and some into regular “market” apartments by subsidizing their rental costs and providing on-site support as needed.

Cool Aid’s long-term goal is, with community support, to build 360 more supportive housing apartments to help address this critical community need. This is the focus of our housing capital campaign.(Cool Aid has 45 apartments currently under construction in Saanich for seniors who are homeless.)

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Question: Are guests allowed at Mount Edwards Court?

Answer: At the present time, while the residents settle into their new homes, Cool Aid is not allowing guests into the building who are not residents’ family members or helping professionals.

Most of Cool Aid’s other ten apartment buildings do accept guests, provided those guests are not creating a disturbance within the building or neighbourhood.

Cool Aid hopes that within a few months that Mount Edwards residents will also be able to invite guests into their homes. Access into the building will always be controlled by staff (i.e. locked) to ensure that only welcomed guests can get in.

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Question: I know a lot of street people have pets. Do you allow pets at Mount Edwards Court or any of your other ten apartment buildings?

Answer: Pets are very important to people who have been homeless which is why most Cool Aid properties, including Mount Edwards, welcome our clients’ pets.

In fact, one of Cool Aid’s supporters is the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS), whose donors provide a significant amount of food for pets who are living with Cool Aid clients.

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Question: Are the people living at Mount Edwards Court employed?

Answer: It might surprise neighbours to learn that a significant number of people who live in Cool Aid housing, including Mount Edwards, have regular jobs, as well as casual work. (This is also true of people staying in emergency shelters, like Rock Bay Landing and Sandy Merriman House.)

As well, Cool Aid has a longstanding policy of providing employment training opportunities for residents who want to gain some skills and earn a bit of money. Their janitorial contributions help build community and pride within the apartment buildings as well as providing new skills.

Other Cool Aid programs also provide employment training and placement opportunities for our residents and other clients:

  • Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool provides a free placement service for employers and casual workers who are available, trained and ready to work, including home owners who need help gardening, moving or with other needs.
  • The Downtown Community Centre, operated by Cool Aid at 755 Pandora Avenue near City Hall, provides employment training opportunities, lifeskills courses and healthy recreation opportunities for our residents and others. The free Community Kitchen program, for example, provides training in nutrition, food purchasing, preparation and storage, and leads to a Food Safe certification for participants.

The Beacon Services-Cool Aid Thrift Shop at 715 Pandora Avenue provides Cool Aid clients with employment training opportunities in retail operations as well as an inexpensive place to purchase clothing, household goods and other needed essentials.

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Question: What are the expected outcomes for your residents?

Answer: Cool Aid’s agreement with the Province is quite clear about the expected outcomes for our residents. We are required to find permanent housing and any necessary supports that are needed for all 38 of our Mount Edwards residents and have them moved out not later than April 2017. During that process, Cool Aid will also support them in a variety of ways to improve their wellbeing, including help in locating employment, addiction treatment and improved health care.

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Question: Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?

Yes, Cool Aid utilizes a Balanced Scorecard methodology to measure our progress towards meeting our strategic objectives and reports out annually to the community. Cool Aid has also been featured in local and national research as an example of best practices in supportive housing.

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Question:
Is it true that low barrier housing has been found to be detrimental to drug addiction recovery?

Answer: Perhaps counter-intuitively, the opposite has in fact been found. Insisting that people become “clean” before providing them with safe and secure housing simply keeps people homeless for longer – leading to more problems in neighbourhoods and more cost to taxpayers.

What works better is harm reduction and housing first, where people are accepted no matter what their condition, helped to stabilize in housing, and then encouraged to work on whatever challenges have caused them to become homeless, including addictions. This is what we are doing for residents at Mount Edwards Court who are struggling with addiction. While not everyone is able to overcome their addiction, many do, providing positive examples for their neighbours.

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Question:
Will there be policies requiring residents to take prescribed medication for mental health conditions, and if so will this be enforced through supervision?

Answer: One of the important roles that our 24/7 Housing Support Workers provide is medication monitoring. As well, they interact with tenants every day to ensure that they are doing well and have all the support they need. When outside services are required, such as an ambulance, they are called in.

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Question:
Will there be a safe injection site at Mount Edward?

Answer: No. There will be no drop-in services at the Mount Edward Court. Services are for residents only.

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Question:
It sounds dangerous to house people with mental illness and addictions right beside Cathedral School. What assurances can you give that our children will not be harmed?

Answer: Whenever Cool Aid proposes a new apartment building neighbours are afraid. They often think that supportive housing looks like an emergency shelter or drop-in service where there can be spillover effects onto the sidewalk. Once we open and neighbours discover that the building is well managed and the residents well supported, there are very few problems or complaints. Check out the locations of our 14 facilities on this map.

Cool Aid’s own properties on the 700-block of Pandora Avenue provide an excellent example of how supportive housing can work well with neighbours, businesses and children nearby. 112 Cool Aid residents are housed on the block (including eight residents 19 years or younger) – from the same populations that Cool Aid is also housing at Mount Edwards Court.

The Downtown Community Centre is located immediately below/adjacent to 85 apartments for both adults and youth under 19 years.

Every weekday during the school year, groups of daycare providers rent the Community Centre’s gymnasium space for their preschool children to enjoy. As you can see from this online letter from a daycare provider, this has been working well for over 20 years for both the preschoolers and Cool Aid residents who benefit from their positive energy and encourage each other to be respectful and positive. To quote the daycare provider from her letter:

“Never in this time [20 years] have I or my children ever felt intimidated by the residents/clients of the facilities. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The residents/clients take great delight in watching the children and sometimes interacting with them – always with care and politeness and only after we have spoken first. I encourage the children to talk to everyone and if too shy to at least smile. The older children now recognize some of the longer time residents/clients and run up to say hi or show a special treasure they have. I really think this benefits the children and the residents/clients.”

Leagh Lawrence, Pedal Pusher Daycare

Additionally, for many years, the site was a host of the Out of the Rain youth shelter, for youth 19 years or younger who are homeless.

Cool Aid would be pleased to tour you through one of our sites, including Mount Edwards Court, so you can see for yourself how well a staffed supportive housing building fits into a neighbourhood even with child and youth services on site.

For tour bookings or information, please call Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781 or email arycroft@CoolAid.org.

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Question: Isn’t it true that Mount Edwards is a social experiment, providing supportive housing for such a large group beside an elementary school?

Answer: Mount Edwards Court is not a “social experiment”. There are numerous similiar projects located adjacent to schools in the Lower Mainland including Mole Hill & Lord Roberts Annex and Biltmore & Nightingale, which you can read about by clicking on the links.

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Question:
How many staff are supporting the residents and neighbourhood at Mount Edwards Court?

Answer: Staffing levels are very high for our 38 residents and also for the neighbourhood.

Three professional resident support workers is the minimum staffing level at the site – that’s one staff person for each 13 residents — even during the middle of the night!

You will notice our Security Guard patrolling around the building between 7 am and 11 pm. From 11 pm to 7 am staff undertake periodic patrols of the exterior.

There is also be a full-time Client Support Worker dedicated to the building to assist residents with their goal planning, such as finding work, a permanent home and healthcare. Additionally there are visiting professionals such as nurses during weekdays. Finally, there is janitorial/maintenance staff and meals are being prepared off-site at our Swift street kitchen.

Mount Edwards has much higher staffing levels than Pandora Avenue, where we have successfully housed 112 residents for years with youth and child-serving programs on site every single day, including weekends.

We invite you to speak with our staff at Mount Edwards Court, or any other location, anytime. You can also call Mount Edwards 24/7 at 778-265-3456.

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Question:
I live in the neighbourhood and see litter, discarded needles, loitering, drug trading and increased police interventions. Won’t these 38 residents make things even worse?

Answer: These behaviours are much more likely among people who are homeless than those housed in a caring and safe environment in their own apartment and supported by a group of professionals. Housing 38 of our neighbours who were living at the InTent City will reduce, not increase, such problems. When they are all safely housed with support workers we will see additional improvements in neighbourhood cleanliness and safety.

Needle sweeps in the area are performed by three groups. Both Sandy Merriman House and Mount Edwards Court have volunteer ‘Clean and Safe’ Teams. These teams cover an area of approximately two block radius around each building and safely dispose of needles and other garbage. They will also respond to a call from neighbours and Police if paraphernalia is found anywhere around either building. These teams are scheduled daily; however, at times volunteers are unable to attend their shift.

Mount Edwards Court also has Security on site daily between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm. During their hourly patrol of Mount Edwards and the adjacent block, which includes the school, the security officer sweeps for any needles, etc. and safely disposes of them.

Staff at Mount Edwards are always willing to attend and safely pick up needles in the neighbourhood if alerted by a neighbour. Their 24-hour phone number is: 778-265-3456.

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Questions: What are your expectations of the residents?

Answers: At Mount Edwards Court, there is a dedicated staff person who works with the residents on developing and implementing their own personal plans for community integration. This could include, for example, goals and strategies to find permanent housing, employment, addiction treatment and improved health care.

Different people have different levels of success in improving their situation and resolving challenges.

At minimum, Cool Aid requires that all residents behave in appropriate ways both in the building and the neighbourhood. Any resident that is unable to be a good neighbour will be asked and assisted to help change any antisocial behaviours. If they are unsuccessful, the person may be moved to another building or evicted if necessary.

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Question: Is there a process for neighbourhood input and consultation?

Answer: For Cool Aid, responding to neighbourhood concerns is a priority. As a way to do this, weekly neighbourhood meetings have been established, with representatives from the neighbourhood, Cathedral School, the City, police community liaison, Mount Edwards’ residents and Cool Aid. The weekly meetings are open to the public.

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Question:
Anyone who makes a modification to their home has to go through rezoning before proceeding. Why is the Province being allowed to do whatever they want in this building without a required rezoning?

Answer: By law, the Province has the right to avoid municipal zoning regulations.

However, the Province, the City of Victoria and Cool Aid have all publicly committed to a rezoning process for any permanent change in use of the property beyond March 2017.

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Question: The BC Government has announced they intend to open up 60 more apartments at Mount Edwards Count. Is that a good idea?

Answer: First off, the plan for the first year, until April 2017, has not changed — and that is to house and support up to 38 people who were formerly homeless and find them permanent housing within the year.

What happens after that is still subject to a public rezoning process that the Province, Cool Aid and the City of Victoria have all committed to undertake.

Furthermore, Cool Aid has committed to creating a process for dialogue with neighbours,school and Cathedral representatives before bringing forward a plan for rezoning. We need some time for the current operation to settle into a routine before we start this process.

After the rezoning process is completed, the neighbourhood will know with certainty what the long-term use of Mount Edwards Court will be.

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Additional Mount Edwards Information:

Mount Edwards main page

Housing First Research summary

Call Mount Edwards staff:  778-265-3456 or speak with our Community Liaison outside the building

Tours or more info about Cool Aid: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781

 

Additional Housing Campaign Information

Help End Homeless campaign to house 360 people

Relevant definitions

Province Announces Housing at Mount Edwards Court

The Province is the owner of Mount Edwards Court. Here is their announcement news release:

NEWS RELEASE
Additional temporary shelter and housing coming to Greater Victoria
February 5th, 2016
Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing

VICTORIA – The Province will provide an additional 88 units of transitional housing and shelter, as well as 40 rent supplements for campers currently residing at the Victoria courthouse lawns.

Thirty-eight transitional housing units will be offered at the Mount Edwards Court Care Home at 1002 Vancouver St., which will be operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The Province has purchased the building from the Baptist Housing Society for $3.65 million. The housing units will open in the coming weeks for approximately 12 months, and units will be rented for $375 per month. Island Health will also provide clinical support services at the site.

An additional 50 shelter units will be available at the former Victoria Youth Custody Centre building at 94 Talcott Rd. in View Royal and operated by Our Place Society. Campers will be provided with three meals per day and have the option of camping in the courtyard, which can accommodate at least 20 tents. The View Royal shelter will be open for approximately six months and the Mount Edwards one for approximately 12 months.

These facilities will also provide a range of support services to provide the campers with access to more stable, long-term housing, including rent supplements that will be administered by Pacifica Housing. These units are in addition to the 40 spaces at the former Boys and Girls Club that were made available in December.

Both facilities are expected to be operational by Feb. 23, 2016.

These 88 units of transitional housing and shelter are in addition to the 147 year-round homeless shelter spaces, 125 extreme weather shelter spaces and 145 temporary shelter spaces available in Victoria.

Both non-profit housing operators will hold public information sessions for each location, where community members will be invited to voice their concerns. Dates and locations are still being determined.

Provincial representatives are delivering a notice to each of the campers this morning to advise them that they must vacate the courthouse property by Feb. 25 due to safety concerns and to advise them of the additional housing options.

Quotes:

Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing ─

“We have created these additional living spaces and are providing support services to help homeless individuals take an important step to find permanent, stable housing. I hope that people take this opportunity to make meaningful changes in their lives.”

Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria ─

“We’re happy to see this much-needed investment in affordable housing in Victoria. We look forward to working with the Province and the neighbourhood to determine the best long-term use for the facility.”

Mayor David Screech, View Royal ─

“The homeless issue is truly a regional problem, and we believe that all jurisdictions must be part of the solution. With that philosophy, we are prepared to support Victoria and BC Housing’s initiative to use the youth custody centre as a facility for the homeless on a temporary basis. Victoria and BC Housing have shown great leadership in bringing forward these solutions.”

Don McTavish, senior manager, Victoria Cool Aid Society ─

“Cool Aid is excited to have this opportunity to house and support 38 people who are today homeless. We appreciate the support of the Province and look forward to working with the new residents, Cathedral School and neighbours to ensure this housing program integrates successfully into the neighbourhood.”

Don Evans, executive director, Our Place Society ─

“We are excited to offer people an opportunity to focus on their health needs. This state-of-the-art facility can deliver secure and stable shelter with access to food, hot showers, laundry and programs. The members of tent city have been asking for a place where they can still camp outdoors, but with access to the necessities they need. This facility delivers that and more.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province has invested more than $176 million over the past five years toward approximately 5,000 units of subsidized housing and rent supplements in Victoria.
  • In 2014-15, the B.C. government invested more than $19 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 5,100 households in Victoria. This includes providing support for more than 2,200 senior households and more than 1,300 family households.
  • There are nearly 150 year-round homeless shelter spaces available in Victoria.
  • Last winter, more than 145 additional shelter spaces were available across Greater Victoria to increase emergency shelter space when extreme weather conditions threatened the safety and health of individuals.
  • The daytime drop-in centre at Our Place operates with $500,000 in funding from the B.C. government. In addition, the Province provided $125,000 in one time funding to help Our Place stay open longer.
  • Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4.4 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families.
  • This year, more than 102,500 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
  • The Province provided approximately $213 million last year to support more than 13,200 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized housing units and rent supplements for those who were homeless throughout British Columbia.
  • Last year, the Province invested over $19.7 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 5,100 Victoria households, including more than 970 of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Learn More:

To learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness in Victoria, please visit: www.bchousing.org and www.housingmattersbc.ca/docs/fs_Homeless%20Supports_Victoria.pdf

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., please visit: http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map

Media Contact:
Jenny Lee-Leugner
BC Housing
604 439-4195

DRAFT Mount Edwards Court Housing

On February 23, 2016, Victoria Cool Aid Society started operating the BC Housing-owned Mount Edwards Court to provide transitional housing and support services for 38 people; most of whom were homeless and living at the nearby tent city. Mount Edwards is located at 1002 Vancouver Street, at the corner of Rockland.

A year later, 20 individuals had been helped to find permanent housing who were living at Mount Edwards.

Here are some of the services Cool Aid is providing for the residents and neighbourhood:

  • Cool Aid has an operating agreement with BC Housing to provide transitional housing and supports for 38 people on the main floor.
  • Meals are provided every day for our residents.
  • Health supports are on-site weekly. Addiction and recovery supports are provided.
  • Life skills programming include financial and budgeting education.
  • Cool Aid has created a “clean and safe” team to help keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy. These teams pick up litter in the area near Mount Edwards Court.
  • Professional staff assist residents with goal setting and case planning, including assistance with locating permanent housing.

Web-sub-page-Banner-MT-Ed-BLANK-Feb-2016 Three Cool Aid Staff, including a dedicated, full-time Client Support Worker, are on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can be reached anytime at 778-265-3456 or in person by going up to the building and pressing the doorbell.

There is secure access to the building with visitor/guest controls. The front entrance is on Vancouver Street and access is controlled by staff. Likewise, the accessible entrance for those with mobility challenges is on Rockland; with access also controlled by staff. All other doors are for emergency use only.

Cool Aid is committed to engaging in a public rezoning process as part of the long-term planning for the use of Mount Edwards Court.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about Mount Edwards in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or drop us a line.

You may also be interested in reading some research about Cool Aid’s programs and philosophy and why “housing first” and “harm reduction” are considered best practice in the sector.

See below for additional contact information.

Support for Mount Edwards Court

Our funding partner is the Province of BC (BC Housing). The City of Victoria provides a property tax exemption for the supportive housing.

Many neighbours support Cool Aid’s efforts to provide solutions to homelessness through the provision of housing and support services including:

Additional Information

Speak with the staff of Mount Edwards Court 24 hours any day at 778-265-3456 or contact the building coordinator John Sherratt by email at jsherratt@CoolAid.org.

If you have a suggestion, compliment or complaint, in addition to speaking with our staff on site, you can also fill out a form. A response will be given to you if you provide contact information.

To arrange a tour with Cool Aid and see for yourself what Cool Aid supportive housing looks like please feel contact: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781.

If you are unable to get the answers you need, please feel free to contact a member of Cool Aid’s senior management team:


ORIGINAL

On February 23, 2016, Victoria Cool Aid Society started operating the BC Housing-owned Mount Edwards Court building to provide temporary transitional housing and support services for 38 people for approximately 12 months. Mount Edwards is located at 1002 Vancouver Street, at the corner of Rockland.

Cool Aid staff are on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are three or more staff members at Mount Edwards at all times, with a security guard outside from 7 am to midnight each day.

We have a 24-hour phone number for any questions or immediate concerns. Please feel free to call Mount Edwards anytime at 778-265-3456, or speak with our staff by going up to the building and pressing the doorbell.

There will be secure access to the building with visitor/guest controls. The front entrance is on Vancouver Street and access is controlled by staff. Likewise, the accessible entrance for those with mobility challenges is on Rockland; with access also controlled by staff. All other doors are for emergency use only. At this time, resident guests are not accepted into the building.

Here are some of the services Cool Aid will be providing for residents and the neighbourhood:

  • Cool Aid has created a “clean and safe” team to keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy. These teams will pick up litter daily in the area near Mount Edwards Court.
  • Meals are provided every day for our residents.
  • Health supports are on-site weekly. Addiction and recovery supports are provided.
  • Life skills programming will include financial and budgeting education.
  • Professional staff assist residents with goal setting and case planning, including assistance with locating permanent housing.

Partners

  • BC Housing
  • City of Victoria (tax exemption)

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have more questions about Mount Edwards and they are hopefully answered in our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). If not, drop us a line with your question.

You may also be interested in reading some research about Cool Aid’s programs and philosophy and why “housing first” and “harm reduction” are considered best practice in the sector.

See below for additional contact information.

Neighbourhood Meetings

For Cool Aid, responding to neighbourhood concerns is a priority, which is why, together with community representatives, a draft Neighbour Relations Framework has been written. As well, regular neighbourhood meetings have been held with representatives from the neighbourhood, Cathedral School, the City, VicPD, Mount Edwards’ residents and Cool Aid. These meetings were open to the public and minutes can be found below.

There are no further neighbourhood meetings scheduled at this time. The original intent of these meetings was to provide a venue to bring forward concerns specific to the current operation of Mount Edwards and to share ideas about how we can all improve our neighbourhood. Given that neighbours were mostly interested in discussing the future of Mount Edwards, it makes sense to put these meetings on hold until such time as we have new information to share. BC Housing has advised that there are currently no plans to proceed with rezoning.

If you do have any concerns or suggestions regarding the current operation of Mount Edwards, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we can be reached in a variety of ways:

Mount Edwards Court

24 hour phone: 778-265-3456
John Sherratt, Coordinator, jsherratt@CoolAid.org,

Victoria Cool Aid Society

Don McTavish, Director of Residential Services, dmctavish@CoolAid.org
Kathy Stinson, CEO, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Minutes from previous neighbourhood meetings:

Support for Mount Edwards Court

Our funding partner is the Province of BC (BC Housing).

Many neighbours support Cool Aid’s efforts to provide solutions to homelessness through the provision of housing and support services including the following:

A few letters to the Times Colonist:

Web-sub-page-Banner-MT-Ed-BLANK-Feb-2016The Future

While the building is in use for short-term, transitional housing, Cool Aid will be leading a public process with the community and the City of Victoria to confirm the long-term use of Mount Edwards Court for permanent housing. The long-term use of the property in no way changes what is happening at Mount Edwards today:

  • Cool Aid has an operating agreement with BC Housing to provide transitional housing and supports for people in the 38 units on the main floor until March 2017.
  • Cool Aid is committed to engaging in a public rezoning process as part of the long-term plan.
  • Cool Aid won’t be in a position to begin discussion on those long-term plans until the current operation has had a chance to settle into a routine.
  • Cool Aid will engage a working group that includes representation from the school, the Cathedral, and the neighborhood as we develop the long-term plan.
  • Cool Aid is not fixated on a final number of apartments at this time; that will flow from the planning process.

Additional Information

Speak with the Community Liaison staff outside the building or call Mount Edwards Court directly anytime at 778-265-3456.

If you have a suggestion, compliment or complaint, in addition to speaking with our staff on site, you can also fill out a form. A response will be given to you if you provide contact information.

To arrange a tour with Cool Aid and see what supportive housing looks like please feel contact: Alan Rycroft, Community Relations, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781.

If you are unable to get the answers you need, please feel free to contact a member of Cool Aid’s senior management team:


Province of British Columbia

The Province is the owner of Mount Edwards Court. Below is their announcement news release:

NEWS RELEASE
Additional temporary shelter and housing coming to Greater Victoria
February 5th, 2016
Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing

VICTORIA – The Province will provide an additional 88 units of transitional housing and shelter, as well as 40 rent supplements for campers currently residing at the Victoria courthouse lawns.

Thirty-eight transitional housing units will be offered at the Mount Edwards Court Care Home at 1002 Vancouver St., which will be operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The Province has purchased the building from the Baptist Housing Society for $3.65 million. The housing units will open in the coming weeks for approximately 12 months, and units will be rented for $375 per month. Island Health will also provide clinical support services at the site.

An additional 50 shelter units will be available at the former Victoria Youth Custody Centre building at 94 Talcott Rd. in View Royal and operated by Our Place Society. Campers will be provided with three meals per day and have the option of camping in the courtyard, which can accommodate at least 20 tents. The View Royal shelter will be open for approximately six months and the Mount Edwards one for approximately 12 months.

These facilities will also provide a range of support services to provide the campers with access to more stable, long-term housing, including rent supplements that will be administered by Pacifica Housing. These units are in addition to the 40 spaces at the former Boys and Girls Club that were made available in December.

Both facilities are expected to be operational by Feb. 23, 2016.

These 88 units of transitional housing and shelter are in addition to the 147 year-round homeless shelter spaces, 125 extreme weather shelter spaces and 145 temporary shelter spaces available in Victoria.

Both non-profit housing operators will hold public information sessions for each location, where community members will be invited to voice their concerns. Dates and locations are still being determined.

Provincial representatives are delivering a notice to each of the campers this morning to advise them that they must vacate the courthouse property by Feb. 25 due to safety concerns and to advise them of the additional housing options.

Quotes:

Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing ─

“We have created these additional living spaces and are providing support services to help homeless individuals take an important step to find permanent, stable housing. I hope that people take this opportunity to make meaningful changes in their lives.”

Mayor Lisa Helps, City of Victoria ─

“We’re happy to see this much-needed investment in affordable housing in Victoria. We look forward to working with the Province and the neighbourhood to determine the best long-term use for the facility.”

Mayor David Screech, View Royal ─

“The homeless issue is truly a regional problem, and we believe that all jurisdictions must be part of the solution. With that philosophy, we are prepared to support Victoria and BC Housing’s initiative to use the youth custody centre as a facility for the homeless on a temporary basis. Victoria and BC Housing have shown great leadership in bringing forward these solutions.”

Don McTavish, senior manager, Victoria Cool Aid Society ─

“Cool Aid is excited to have this opportunity to house and support 38 people who are today homeless. We appreciate the support of the Province and look forward to working with the new residents, Cathedral School and neighbours to ensure this housing program integrates successfully into the neighbourhood.”

Don Evans, executive director, Our Place Society ─

“We are excited to offer people an opportunity to focus on their health needs. This state-of-the-art facility can deliver secure and stable shelter with access to food, hot showers, laundry and programs. The members of tent city have been asking for a place where they can still camp outdoors, but with access to the necessities they need. This facility delivers that and more.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province has invested more than $176 million over the past five years toward approximately 5,000 units of subsidized housing and rent supplements in Victoria.
  • In 2014-15, the B.C. government invested more than $19 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 5,100 households in Victoria. This includes providing support for more than 2,200 senior households and more than 1,300 family households.
  • There are nearly 150 year-round homeless shelter spaces available in Victoria.
  • Last winter, more than 145 additional shelter spaces were available across Greater Victoria to increase emergency shelter space when extreme weather conditions threatened the safety and health of individuals.
  • The daytime drop-in centre at Our Place operates with $500,000 in funding from the B.C. government. In addition, the Province provided $125,000 in one time funding to help Our Place stay open longer.
  • Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $4.4 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families.
  • This year, more than 102,500 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
  • The Province provided approximately $213 million last year to support more than 13,200 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized housing units and rent supplements for those who were homeless throughout British Columbia.
  • Last year, the Province invested over $19.7 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 5,100 Victoria households, including more than 970 of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Learn More:

To learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness in Victoria, please visit: www.bchousing.org and www.housingmattersbc.ca/docs/fs_Homeless%20Supports_Victoria.pdf

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., please visit: http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map

Media Contact:
Jenny Lee-Leugner
BC Housing
604 439-4195

Cool Aid’s Winter Coat Giveaway at the Downtown Community Centre

mcgregor_instagramThe chill of winter can be felt by all of us in Victoria, and it is especially chilly for those struggling with homelessness. To help people stay warm the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Casual Labour Pool has been accepting donations of winter coats and other cold weather gear.

Items can be dropped off this week from 9 am to 3:30 pm at 465 Swift Street through Thursday, or at 755 Pandora on Friday.

This Friday, Cool Aid staff will start spreading that warmth by giving away over 300 winter coats and other warm gear in all sizes for men, women and children.

The giveaway is open to anyone in need of warm clothing, and will be held at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue, Friday, January 6, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Media are welcome.

Clothing and other kinds of donations of goods are needed throughout the year. Anyone wishing to make a donation after this week can visit CoolAid.org/goods or contact Cool Aid at 250-383-1977 to find out more.

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Information: CoolAid.org/labour     CoolAid.org/goods

Wendy Stone, Casual Labour Pool
250-388-9296, wstone@CoolAid.org

Carl Young Estate Creates Pets In Need Endowment & Much More

December 16, 2016 – Victoria – In March 2015, Carl Graham Young passed away in advance of his years in an car accident. Although he had never held a job in his life due to a disability, he was in possession of a life insurance policy and had inherited the family home. As well, he had a generous spirit. Victoria Cool Aid Society was the sole beneficiary of Carl’s entire estate, and from this unlikely donor, our biggest gift ever has been received. In total, about $388,000 in net proceeds are expected from the estate and life insurance gifts.

A news conference will be held today at Mount Edwards Court (1002 Vancouver Street) at 2 pm to explain how Carl Young’s estate and life insurance gifts will be used. Attending will be representatives of Cool Aid; a friend of the Young family; SAFARS, a local organization which provides pet food and other pet assistance to Cool Aid clients; and a dog named Electra who recently received a needed operation thanks to Carl Young’s generosity and love of animals.

  • The bulk of Carl Young’s estate and life insurance gifts, about $250,000, will be used to help develop additional pet-friendly housing for people who are currently homeless. This will help build a dozen apartments.
  • $50,000 has been used to establish the “Pets In Need (Carl Young) Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation and a Cool Aid operating fund for pets in need. Any member of the public may contribute to this endowment to help pets in need, in perpetuity.
  • $50,000 will help clients of REES Program, including the Every Step Counts running program and other services and support for people who are living with mental health and addiction challenges.
  • $38,000 will be invested in fund development to leverage additional donations for Cool Aid housing and other services.

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Information:      www.CoolAid.org/bequest         www.CoolAid.org/endowment

 

The front page Times Colonist article about Carl Young from April 2015 appears below.

 

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations, 250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org (only until Friday @ 4:30 pm)

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

John Sherratt, Mount Edwards Court, 778-265-3456, jsherratt@CoolAid.org
Lori Ritchie, family friend, 250-871-1150, loriritchie12@gmail.com
Margarita Dominguez, SAFARS, 778-352-2999, safars.org@hotmail.com


Saanich man who died in crash donates home to Cool Aid

Katie DeRosa / Times Colonist

April 8, 2015 06:00 AM

A 60-year-old Saanich man who died in a single-vehicle crash last month has left his house to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, ensuring that, in death as in life, he will help the homeless.

Carl Graham Young was the passenger in a van that crashed into trees on Old West Saanich Road on March 21.

carl-young-rocking-chairYoung died at the scene and his dog, Turbo, was taken to a veterinary hospital and put down a few days later. Saanich police are investigating whether the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Young lived all his life in his parents’ modest bungalow at 3937 Grange Rd. He never married and never had kids. His parents, Edward and Diane, and his brother, Andrew, have died, leaving Young with the property.

About 18 months ago, Young approached staff at Cool Aid and said he wanted to make the non-profit organization, which runs homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities, the sole beneficiary of his estate, said Alan Rycroft, the society’s spokesman.

“He was a simple man but obviously a very caring person. He asked that some of the proceeds in the estate also be used to help homeless pets,” Rycroft said.

“He loved his dog very much and he also wanted to make sure pets of the homeless are also looked after.”

In an obituary provided by a family friend to Rycroft, Young was described as an avid fan of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Blue Jays and car racing.

“Carl had an unusual memory for sports statistics and birth dates,” the obituary says.

“He could be found many times a day walking his dog Turbo in the Marigold area while socializing with his neighbours.”

The obituary says instead of a service, his friends will hold a barbecue to celebrate his life.

Donations in his name can be made to Cool Aid or the SPCA.

At the time of his death, Young was on a disability pension.

“Carl had a heart of gold and his door was always open to those who needed a safe haven … coffee or a meal,” his friend wrote.

There were two trailers sitting in the side yard of the home and Young would often let friends who were at risk of being homeless stay there, which at times caused problems with neighbours in the quiet residential area.

“He hung out with a group of people who could well be Cool Aid clients,” Rycroft said, adding that he spoke with one man who lived in the trailer.

“[Young] did help out people who he knew were in dire circumstances.”

No one is currently living on the property and Cool Aid staff have cleared out the house.

It is assessed at $392,100, according to B.C. Assessment records. There is a small mortgage outstanding, but Rycroft said after the probate process is completed and the property is sold, Cool Aid will likely receive a six-figure donation.

The property is not large enough to build a low-income residential facility, so the cash will go toward funding housing for the homeless and supporting their pets.

“Even though he didn’t have very much, he is going to make a difference,” Rycroft said. “One of the lessons Carl can teach us all is that we all have something to give.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

© Copyright Times Colonist

 

Fred Is Giving Back

Some of you may recognize Fred — he is the always smiling, cheerful Megaphone Magazine salesman and the “Hope From the Shadows” calendar salesman. You may also see him toting a camera with him at all times. Fred is quite the talented photographer, even receiving an honourable mention in the Hope For Shadows Calendar (check out his picture below!)

Fred Willingdon Honourable Mention Photo Fred embodies what Cool Aid is about—focusing on the future and where he is at today, not where he was in the past. With that in mind, when we sat down with Fred, he focused on something a bit different in front of the camera: He focused on the Cool Aid staff:

“When I first came to Cool Aid, the thing that stood out, and still does stand out-are the people! The staff here are wonderful.”

Fred went on to tell us a bit about his history, but was soon showing his photos off, explaining more about the Megaphone Magazine, and filling us in on the calendar. He also talked about Project Connect 2015, in which he was given the wonderful opportunity to sell the magazines and has been doing so ever since to assist with extra income.

Another favourite moment with Fred was the heartwarming story he told us  about a new staff member to Cool Aid’s Mike Gidora Place. We would encourage you to take a few moments to watch it by clicking here.

As Fred said it best right at the beginning of the video clip “Cool Aid is a great organization—they give hope.”

To watch more of our clients stories, visit our YouTube channel and stay tuned for more pictures and photos on our Facebook Page from Fred in the future! You can find links to all of Cool Aid’s social media channels on this web site.

Fred Willingdon photos

Fred Willingdon photos

Fred sells Megaphone magazine and Hope in Shadows calendars

Fred sells Megaphone magazine and Hope in Shadows calendars

What I Learned From Carl Young

carl-young-rocking-chairby Alan Rycroft

I met Carl Young just once. But he made a strong impression on me. When he and his dog Turbo died in a car accident a year later, on March 21, 2015, I was amazed at what this simple, caring man had accomplished.

Carl Young lived his whole life in the family home near Spectrum school. Due to a disability, he was unable to hold a job. He never had a girlfriend nor fathered any children. But he was a happy man.

Neighbours described Carl as a softspoken man with a heart of gold. He had a keen memory for names and numbers and always greeted everyone by name. If you shared your date of birth and phone number, Carl would call you every birthday to wish you well.

He was generous with his friends, some of whom were homeless. Even though he himself lived in poverty, he allowed many people to stay on his property. His home was a safe haven for those who needed a coffee, a meal, a Lucky or a warm and dry couch to sleep.

Most of all, Carl loved his dog Turbo. He is most remembered in his Saanich neighbourhood as the nice fellow who walked his dog several times daily. Or, as I was told, that Turbo, a large, strong dog, was fond of walking Carl!

When I met Carl he had no living family left. His brother had died several years ago, and Carl inherited the family home, after his parents both passed away.

Thankfully, at the suggestion of a friend, Carl Young found a lawyer and had a will and life insurance policy drawn up. He left the family home, his only asset, to Cool Aid, and named the society as the sole beneficiary of his life insurance.

Carl specified that he wanted to benefit homeless pets, as well as people like his friends. So this is what Cool Aid is doing:

  • Most of the funds from the property sale will contribute to building eight or more apartments for people, like his friends, who are homeless.
  • A sum of $50,000 will endow two Pets in Need Funds, one with the Victoria Foundation and one at Cool Aid, to provide food, medicines, and medical procedures, etc. for pets whose owners can’t afford these for their beloved companions.

I learned something deep in my heart from Carl Graham Edward Young that I had only known as an intellectual concept: Everyone can make a difference.

Rest in Peace, Carl Graham Edward Young. We have much to learn from you.


Saanich man who died in crash donates home to Cool Aid

A 60-year-old Saanich man who died in a single-vehicle crash last month has left his house to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, ensuring that, in death as in life, he will help the homeless.

Carl Graham Young was the passenger in a van that crashed into trees on Old West Saanich Road on March 21.

Young died at the scene and his dog, Turbo, was taken to a veterinary hospital and put down a few days later. Saanich police are investigating whether the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Young lived all his life in his parents’ modest bungalow at 3937 Grange Rd. He never married and never had kids. His parents, Edward and Diane, and his brother, Andrew, have died, leaving Young with the property.

About 18 months ago, Young approached staff at Cool Aid and said he wanted to make the non-profit organization, which runs homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities, the sole beneficiary of his estate, said Alan Rycroft, the society’s spokesman.

“He was a simple man but obviously a very caring person. He asked that some of the proceeds in the estate also be used to help homeless pets,” Rycroft said.

“He loved his dog very much and he also wanted to make sure pets of the homeless are also looked after.”

In an obituary provided by a family friend to Rycroft, Young was described as an avid fan of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Blue Jays and car racing.

“Carl had an unusual memory for sports statistics and birth dates,” the obituary says.

“He could be found many times a day walking his dog Turbo in the Marigold area while socializing with his neighbours.”

The obituary says instead of a service, his friends will hold a barbecue to celebrate his life.

Donations in his name can be made to Cool Aid or the SPCA.

At the time of his death, Young was on a disability pension.

“Carl had a heart of gold and his door was always open to those who needed a safe haven … coffee or a meal,” his friend wrote.

There were two trailers sitting in the side yard of the home and Young would often let friends who were at risk of being homeless stay there, which at times caused problems with neighbours in the quiet residential area.

“He hung out with a group of people who could well be Cool Aid clients,” Rycroft said, adding that he spoke with one man who lived in the trailer.

“[Young] did help out people who he knew were in dire circumstances.”

No one is currently living on the property and Cool Aid staff have cleared out the house.

It is assessed at $392,100, according to B.C. Assessment records. There is a small mortgage outstanding, but Rycroft said after the probate process is completed and the property is sold, Cool Aid will likely receive a six-figure donation.

The property is not large enough to build a low-income residential facility, so the cash will go toward funding housing for the homeless and supporting their pets.

“Even though he didn’t have very much, he is going to make a difference,” Rycroft said. “One of the lessons Carl can teach us all is that we all have something to give.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

© Copyright Times Colonist

Tickets for Irene Haigh-Gidora’s Retirement Celebration

Thank you for joining us in honouring Irene Haigh-Gidora: Thursday, January 19!

Doors open at 5 pm at the Catalano Restaurant, 619 Courtney Street.

Celebrating Ten Years of Eric’s Chili Bandit Supper

Bandit Chili SupperTen years ago, Eric walked into the Downtown Community Centre with a vision. A vision of offering entertainment, a warm meal, and an evening to remember to those who otherwise wouldn’t get to experience anything like it. Donna, our Community Centre Coordinator listened to Eric and took his idea and helped him grow it into the event that we are gearing up for this December 10, 2016:

The Bandit Benefit Chili Supper & Concert!!

This dinner is a chance for anyone and everyone to get a warm meal, listen to some fantastic music, and to enjoy — at no cost to them! But that’s not the only thing that makes this dinner special. The humble beginnings and the back story of how this event came to be are truly inspiring.

The first year Eric planned this dinner he himself was homeless. Eric had unfortunately, been a car accident that year and was out of work. He came to the Downtown Community Centre looking for help and assistance in getting his life back. Donna and the team stepped right up, and with the help of Cool Aid and the resources offered he overcame every challenge that he faced. To top it all off, he gave something back to Cool Aid and the community Centre, in the form of the Chili Bandit Supper & Concert.

Eric, with the help of the Downtown Community Centre, and multiple sponsors around the greater Victoria area, have been able to keep this dinner going for ten straight years! It has become a staple and tradition once December hits and we have been able to watch him turn it into something far greater than just one dinner — it’s a stepping stone in creating community!

We are thrilled to be able to work with Eric year after year to continue on with this wonderful event and invite you to check out his video about what the dinner means to him:

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations Manager

alan-rycroft-web-2016Alan Rycroft has over 20 years experience managing fund development, media relations, strategic communications, web sites, campaigns, events and newswires within government, non-profit agencies and the private sector.

Since 2006, Alan has managed Community Relations for the Victoria Cool Aid Society. In his role as Manager, he is responsible for communications and marketing and also plays an active role in fund development.  He volunteers with a variety of small organizations helping them improve their communications and fundraising.

Alan’s work has been instrumental in raising Cool Aid’s profile in the community and in increasing the dollars available for capital projects (buildings) and operating costs.

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Beard On or Beard Off Raises $6,435!

Brian Bates Beard On Beard Off posterFinal Update, Monday, January 16, 2017

Five gentlemen who offered their glorious manes for a good cause – helping people who are homeless and vulnerable through the Victoria Cool Aid Society, last night made the “ultimate sacrifice” of their beards. More dollars were voted towards shaving the beards than towards saving them. In total, $6,435 was raised for REES Support Services through this unique and fun initiative. Final tally:

Beards Off: $3,565 ($2,535 online + $1,030 at Saint Franks)

Beards On: $2,870 ($2,370 online + $500 at Saint Franks)

Cool Aid is very grateful for the four men (formerly with beards) who live in Victoria: Brian Bates, Braeden Papp, Nick Johnson and David Mitchell, and Frank Motschko in Kelowna.

There was a packed house at Saint Franks last night and literally standing room only and celebrity energy surrounding the Victory Barber Shop at the back of Saint Franks when their amazing beards were shaved off after voting closed. A big thank you goes to these businesses and the event sponsor Driftwood Brewery.

Both online and Saint Franks voting ended Sunday night. Members of the public who wish to show their solidarity for their sacrifice can still make a charitable donation at www.CoolAid.org/donate. Please note your gift is in support of “Beard On – Beard Off”.

Visit Facebook.com/beardonoff to watch the dramatic videos and learn more.


Update – Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tonight’s the night when the big decision is made. Will the five gorgeous, long beards be lopped off or will they remain? Only you can decide.

Vote online until 8 pm tonight. Or live 4-8 pm to witness the drama and chaos:

Saint Franks, 1320 Broad Street, Victoria

Save them!    https://beardon.causevox.com

Shave them!  https://beardoff.causevox.com


Victoria – December 1, 2016 – Two years ago, Brian Bates offered up his glorious mane to help people in need by supporting the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Bids to shave the beard off or save the beard (on) came in at over $2,700, with the “Beard On” forces winning by a whisker. This year, Brian has convinced two other men (Nicholas Johnson and Braeden Papp) to join him and offer up their glorious beards in the name of a good cause. They are hoping to raise $10,000 for the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

Come meet these gentlemen and learn what motivates them to offer up their most precious beards. “Beard On/Beard Off: 2” launches this Friday, December 2, at the Victory Barber Shop in the back of Saint Franks, 1320 Broad Street at 9 am.

If you love bushy beards, or even if you hate them, now is your chance to have your say. Visit Facebook.com/beardonoff to watch the dramatic video, learn more and contribute. All proceeds will help the Victoria Cool Aid Society programs.

Vote:

Vote with your donation to keep the beards on.

Or vote here to shave them off!

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Information: Facebook.com/beardonoff

Brian Bates, brbates@gmail.com

Alan Rycroft, Cool Aid, 250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org

Braeden, Brian & Nick sporting their beards

Braeden, Brian & Nick sporting their beards

 


An article about the first “Beard On – Beard Off” appeared in the Province in January 2015 and follows:

Everyone wins (except mom): Beard stays, Cool Aid Society gets $2,740
The Province
January 16, 2015 09:42 PM

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/everyone-wins-except-mom-beard-stays-cool-aid-society-gets-2-740-1.1734249

The people have spoken: Brian Bates will keep his beard, which he has been growing for about a year.

The beard abides.

The fate of Brian Bates’s facial hair has been decided by family, friends and complete strangers in an Internet competition designed to raise money for a Victoria-area charity.

brian-bates-cam-shot-2015In early December, Bates launched a crowdfunding campaign on CauseVox asking people to donate to one of two sites — Beard On or Beard Off — with the proceeds from both going to help the homeless.

With $1,485 raised, the Beard On campaign squeaked out a win, and Bates’s glorious blond mane — a year’s work — will remain. The Beard Off campaign, strongly supported by Bates’s mother, came close with $1,255 in donations.

“I had resigned myself to shaving it,” Bates said Thursday, a few hours before the campaign’s midnight close. “I was expecting a landslide, so I was shocked to see it come this close.”

Bates will donate all the money to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, which runs several supportive housing buildings and shelters, in addition to a health and community centre, helping about 9,000 Victoria homeless each year.

The society is planning a “decorating event” in the beard’s honour.

© Copyright Times Colonist

Leonard Is All Smiles Thanks to Cool Aid Dental

Some of you may recognize Leonard James; he is an established public speaker within the Greater Victoria area, and partners with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. Leonard is a keynote speaker who shares his experiences in hopes that he can stop from others from making some of the mistakes he has made.

But Leonard has been able to overcome his challenges and adversity—and has stable housing, stable work and a set of shiny pearly whites to boot—thanks to the Victoria Cool Aid Society Dental Clinic!

Mr. James first came to the dental clinic when he had abscessed teeth.

“My friend told me how harmful they were—and recommended I come here. I was hesitant as I don’t like dentists… but everyone here was so caring and gentle.”

Leonard not only had his abscesses taken care of, but he also now sports a set of brand new set of dentures that keep him smiling from ear to ear. To some a full smile may seem small, and is something many take for granted, but as Leonard pointed out during our interview, people don’t realize how important having a full set of teeth and an attractive smile can be for someone’s confidence-it can make a world of difference in one’s life.

Good teeth can also be an important factor in obtaining an apartment or work.

Leonard now has no shortage of confidence and as he tells us he has to remind himself: “Head up Leonard — show off that smile.”

Watch Leonard’s full interview below. Check out Cool Aid’s YouTube Channel to see more videos.

Jerry’s Journey to Swift House

Within the first few minutes of conversing with him, you instantly know that you can tell him anything and there will be no judgement, no criticism—only support and someone who is willing to listen.  What makes Jerry so easy to talk to? Perhaps it comes from the openness in which he shares his own story.

Mr. McBride was kicked out a recovery house in 2010—and suddenly, as many Cool Aid clients will tell you— found himself homeless in an instant. That’s where Cool Aid stepped in. Jerry partnered with Larry Stevens at REES Support Services and started off with stays at Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing Shelter.

“It built up… I was homeless and I had to figure out how to get by. [Larry] would sit down and talk with me about solutions to combat my homelessness.”

From Rock Bay, Jerry continued to work with Larry and a client service worker named Veetus, who helped him to move onto a transitional shelter, and then finally an apartment at Swift House!

Jerry was able to able to increase his income, work on overcoming his addictions, and has gotten his life back.

“Today I am still at Swift House—I still meet with Larry Stevens because I can connect with him. Larry Stevens, Veetus, and the staff of Cool Aid, have been a huge part of my journey!”

Check out Jerry’s full interview on Cool Aid’s Youtube Channel!

Provincial Employees Are Charity Winners With PECSF

Provincial employees learn about local charities at PECSF picnic

Provincial employees learn about local charities at PECSF picnic

Provincial employees, through their Community Services Fund (PECSF), have been supporting Cool Aid and over 100 other local organizations, since 1965! For the past five years, the Provincial Employees Community Services Fund has stepped up to become one of the key partners of the Downtown Community Centre, which focuses on healthy living, health promotion and social diversity. The Community Centre provides free, healthy, recreation and life skill programs for adults and youth living and working in the downtown core with a special focus on helping people who are homeless, street involved and at-risk.

In November, following a nomination from Cool Aid, the Community Services Fund was awarded “Outstanding Philanthropic Service Club Award” by National Philanthropy Day. A well-deserved congratulations and thanks to the many caring public servants throughout Victoria and their dedicated staff!

PECSF logo

Dave Fracy, Director

Dave Fracy, Cool Aid DirectorIn 2016, Dave Fracy was named a partner of Hatch & Muir LLP – having spent the previous five years as an associate financial advisor at Raymond James Limited.

Dave also has a broad skill-set in operations, processes and planning. His first career was in the golf industry where he spent 14 years at Callaway Golf Canada, most notably as Director of Operations.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Victoria and recently attained the FPSC Level 1® Certification in Financial Planning.

For the last two years, Dave has been the organizing force behind Cool Aid’s Legacy Golf Tournament in a volunteer capacity.

Born and raised in Victoria, Dave is passionate about the city and improving community quality of life.

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Janet Donald, Director

Janet Donald has worked in public policy and programs with the British Columbia provincial government for the past 20 years. This work has spanned children’s rights, early childhood development, strategic planning and the development and implementation of policy and legislation. Janet’s work has crossed a variety of offices and ministries including the Children’s Commission, Office for Children and Youth and the Ministry of Attorney General and Justice.

Janet is currently Director of Policy with the Residential Tenancy Branch, Office of Housing and Construction Standards.

Prior to her work with the provincial government, Janet worked in the not-for-profit and education sectors.  This included work as a sessional instructor with the University College of the Fraser Valley, a Team Lead with the Provincial Review Team, and a Research Associate with Women-Futures Community Economic Development Society.

Janet received a Master of Social Work from the University of British Columbia, with a specialization in Community Development, Social Policy and Research.

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Kathleen Perkin, Director

Kathleen has a background in research and policy analysis in the areas of harm reduction, substance use and housing. Kathleen holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in anthropology from the University of Victoria.

From November 2009 to 2014, Kathleen was the Research Coordinator for Dr. Bernie Pauly at the Centre for Addictions Research/University of Victoria of BC.

In this position, she managed a variety of projects focused on health equity, substance use, harm reduction and/or social determinants of health. Her two most recent projects were Equity Lens in Public Health and Managed Alcohol Programs: Evaluating Effectiveness and Policy Implications.

Kathleen is currently working with the Ministry of Health, as Manager, Harm Reduction Policy in the Population and Public Health Division.

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Blaine Sparvie Works Hard

blaine-wendy-labour-pool-web-2016-septWendy from Cool Aid’s Labour Pool would like to introduce you to Blaine Sparvie.

For the past ten years, Blaine has been finding work using Cool Aid’s Labour Pool; earning income, learning new skills and building confidence.

Blaine has been able to secure near full-time work through the Labour Pool, and in an interview jokingly stated that, “I am so busy now… maybe it’s time for a vacation!”

But joking aside, Blaine has worked hand-in-hand with Cool Aid to get off the streets and into safe housing, build a steady stream of employment, and find a community that cares and supports him.

Blaine has gained skills and experience that he would not have otherwise received had it not been for the work he has found through Cool Aid’s Labour Pool these last ten years.

When asked what he would say to those at Cool Aid who have helped him, he replied:

“What would I say? Oh gosh—THANK YOU! Thank you for listening, thank you for helping, and thank you for just being there. Cool Aid has helped a lot – hundreds of people – not just me.”

Check out Blaine’s Video Interview on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel.

Learn more about the Casual Labour Pool at CoolAid.org/labour or call Wendy at 250-388-9296 to book a skilled or general worker for your business, garden, home or move.

Cool Aid Hosts Project Connect Next Wednesday

October 6, 2016 – Project Connect creates a celebration of giving for many of the Capital Region’s most vulnerable and poor citizens, by providing “one stop shopping” for a wide variety of needs: from personal portrait photos to ID replacement, food to hygiene items and gift bags, and includes live music and an open mic. An initiative of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, and a partnership effort, this year’s Project Connect will be hosted at Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing shelter and transitional housing, 535 Ellice Street from 10 am to 3 pm, next Wednesday, October 12.

“This is an important annual event for members of the community experiencing homelessness and also for organizations providing much needed services,” says Don Elliott, Executive Director of the Coalition to End Homelessness. “Project Connect gives everyone the opportunity to access a range of services and information in one place – something that cannot be underestimated – and is an important part of coming together as a community in support of one another.”

Cool Aid’s volunteer coordinator, Erin Gallagher, iProject Connect Needs Your Helps excited, but needs the community to step up more to donate needed goods and services, and volunteer to help out on the day. “It’s been fantastic to talk to all the caring Victorians who are giving and helping,” send Erin. “But we still need another 30 volunteers for Wednesday and a variety of clothing, hygiene items and food, or cash donations, to provide for our guests.”

One of the key organizers this year is Anawim House’s executive director, Terry Edison-Brown, who says: “Project Connect is a unique and exciting opportunity where all the service providers in Victoria come together to provide for those in need offering information and services.  This is a time where instead of representing individual organizations, we are all able to come together and do what we do best, which is help the homeless and in a direct and tangible way. We are able to connect with each other and connect with the individuals we serve as a whole. This is about meeting the needs of poverty, and together working to eradicate homelessness and provide social justice in the way it was meant to be.”

Our Place Society has also been active lining up donations for our clients, as well as volunteers. Community relations coordinator Tracy Campbell added that, “It is a delight for all of us to work together as service providers to make sure none of our ‘family members’ falls through the gaps. It takes a community to help those who are most vulnerable among us.”

To make a donation to Project Connect or volunteer on the day, contact Cool Aid’s Erin Gallagher at 250-383-1951 extension 4 or egallagher@CoolAid.org. Rock Bay Landing is located at 535 Ellice Street in Victoria.

Media are also invited down to Rock Bay during Project Connect next Wednesday.

– 30 –

Information:              victoriahomelessness.ca/get-involved/project-connect

Erin Gallagher, Volunteer Coordinator, 250-383-1951 ext. 4, egallagher@CoolAid.org

Terry Edison-Brown, Anawim House, 250-382-0283, anawimhouse@shaw.ca

Tracy Campbell, Our Place, 250-388-7112 ext. 259, tracyc@ourplacesociety.com

Don Elliott, G.V. Coalition to End Homelessness, 250-415-1717, DElliott@victoriahomelessness.ca

 

 

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 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 15 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build or repurpose an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home. #buildhomes

Thomas Keeps Things Spic-and-Span at Desmond House

thomas-and-staff-mike-quirke-at-desmond-2016-sept
Step into Thomas’ room at Desmond House, and one can see this former Navy man’s attention to detail shines. The bed is made to perfection, the bookshelf organized immaculately, and then there is Thomas, reading from his expansive library.

Thomas has been at Desmond house for the past nine years and has become an integral part of the community that lives there. In Thomas’ words, “Desmond house is a community – we are all there to support each other. Whether it’s a can of beans, or what have you, we always try to help each other out.”

Thomas once served in the Navy, but like many veterans, he fell on hard times and challenges. He was on and off of the streets for a few years, but Thomas worked with Cool Aid to face these challenges head on.

With support from his housing worker Mike (on the left) and resources from Cool Aid, Thomas has had stable housing, a strong support system, and works every week at Desmond house to keep it spic-and-span.

Check out Thomas’s video interview on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel:

Learn more about Cool Aid housing or call Alan at 250-414-4781. Tours are available.

Register for Homecoming at Ship Point

We invite you to join us for an unforgettable evening under the stars dedicated to helping end homelessness. It will be a special night of celebrating Cool Aid’s 50th Anniversary and your generosity, featuring fine catering and wine, two live bands and an auction.

When: Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 6:30 to 10 pm
Where: Ship Point, Inner Harbour, Victoria (adjacent to the Harbour Air Terminal on Wharf Street)
Cost:      $125 includes a variety of comfort foods with a twist and full beverage service (includes all food & beverage)

Thank You For Joining Us At Homecoming

Thank you for registering to attend Cool Aid’s upcoming Homecoming 50th Anniversary Gala. Your presence will help us in our mission to end homelessness in our community.

We are not planning on mailing out tickets, but we have your name(s) on file now as attending.

When:  Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 6:30 to 10 pm
Where: Ship Point, Inner Harbour, Victoria (adjacent to the Harbour Air Terminal on Wharf Street)

We look forward to seeing you soon.

For further information, please visit our Homecoming main page , invite others and stay in touch through our event’s Facebook page, or contact:

Alan Rycroft
250-414-4781

logo Homecoming web

Homecoming 50th Anniversary Gala

Over $140,000 Raised! Stay Tuned for Homecoming 2019.

Big thanks to all our sponsors, auction donors, guests and volunteers for making Homecoming 50th Anniversary Gala in May 2018, a terrific success. It takes a community to build a home!



Homecoming 2018

It will be a special night of celebrating Cool Aid’s 50th Anniversary and the community’s generosity, featuring delicious catering and fine local beverages, live music, an auction and a chance to double all donations thanks to the generosity of Andrew Beckerman.

When: Saturday, May 26, 2018 from 6:30 to 10 pm

Where: Ship Point, Inner Harbour, Victoria (adjacent to the Harbour Air Terminal on Wharf Street)

Cost:    $125 includes a variety of gourmet comfort foods and full beverage service (includes all food & beverage)

Homecoming is designed as a reception and mingling event with a variety of areas to explore and hang out at “Cool Aid House” we are creating under a big, see-through, heated tent, including some very special “rooms” for the occasion. After wandering down the red carpet, grab a drink and nibbles in the kitchen, relax in the living room and enjoy the fresh air on the patio… As well as stand-up spaces, plenty of seating and tables will be available in a variety of configurations for eating and relaxing with friends old and new. Heaters will be ready in case of any nippiness in the air.

  • Delicious catering and a full beverage service
  • Live Music
  • Beautiful harbour views in our clear, heated BIG tent. Sunset and star views
  • Auction items themed for your home including some big ticket items

Homecoming will also feature some historic displays and videos to learn more about Cool Aid.

All proceeds will directly support Victoria Cool Aid Society’s programs and services for people in the Capital Region.

The event is being designed and organized by Aidan Henry of Brink Events, whose other events have included Diner en Blanc, House of Distinction and more.

Planning on joining us? Invite your friends and colleagues through the Facebook event page for Homecoming. See you there!

For more information, or to discuss the Homecoming Sponsorship Package call or email Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781.

 


Live Auction Items

Escape to Tofino

Enjoy a two-night stay at the luxurious Cox Bay Beach Resort, in Tofino, in a beautiful two-bedroom condo with full kitchen. You’ll also get access to resort amenities including sauna, hot tub, lounge, and exercise facilities. Kindly donated by John Knappett.

Do You Have an Alibi?

Enjoy a private dinner for 8 in your home by Alibi Catering, a talented team of hospitality professionals with combined decades of food and beverage experience in Victoria. Not only will the food be incredible, they will give you the perfect experience to tell your friends about. Their mouth-watering creations you tasted tonight are just a glimpse of the amazing food they offer. Kindly donated by Alibi Catering.

Swans in the Sky

Imagine this – a relaxing evening with your closest friends in a beautiful penthouse with stunning views! Top that off with an overnight stay in the penthouse… and you have our Swans in the Sky package! Kindly donated by Swans Hotel.

Port Hardy Getaway

Escape to the North Island for a relaxing stay at a premier First Nations destination hotel in Port Hardy! Your stay includes two nights of accommodation at the beautiful Kwa’lilas Hotel with a delicious breakfast each morning. Flights to and from Port Hardy are provided by Pacific Coastal Airlines. Kindly donated by Scott Roberts and Pacific Coast Airlines.

Whisked Away by WestJet

Have you ever wanted to see Times Square in New York City, catch some sun in Mexico, or witness the Northern Lights in Yellowknife? With so many potential destinations, you’ll surely find the perfect WestJet location to suit your next journey. This package includes two round-trip tickets for two guests on any regular scheduled WestJet route plus a carry-on luggage donated by Coast Capital Savings. Kindly donated by WestJet and Coast Capital Savings.

Grizzly Bear Adventure

Get up close and personal with Musgamakw Dzawada‘enuxw’s grizzly bears on an immersive and intimate wildlife viewing experience in the Great Bear Rainforest. Join First Nation guides on a tour through the awe-inspiring waterways of their people’s traditional territories. The tour begins and ends at Sea Wolf Adventures located in Port McNeill. For trips this season please book immediately. Kindly donated by Sea Wolf Adventures.

The Wine Connoisseur

This assortment of 10 bottles of fine wine is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Or keep them all to yourself; we won’t judge! Package comes with a small drinks fridge. Kindly donated by the Cool Aid Board of Directors, Vessel Liquor and Westcoast Appliance.

Join the Social Club

The perfect membership for non-golfers! The Victoria Golf Clubhouse, a magnificent, stately structure that echoes with tradition, provides the contemporary dining and Club services Members expect. Package includes 2 annual memberships. Kindly donated by the Victoria Golf Club.

Hockey Night in Canada

You and a guest will travel by Helijet to enjoy the Canucks regular season game of your choosing. With $1,000 in Helijet dollars you will also have extra for another trip. Kindly donated by Helijet and the Canucks.

Stunning Sapphire Diamond Pendant and White Gold Chain

The gorgeous 18 k White Gold, 1.2 ct Natural Blue Sapphire & Diamond Pendant is sure to draw attention! Gemologist appraised at $3,780 and includes an 18 inch 14 k White Gold Chain.

 

Silent Auction Items

Many fun experiences are available for the adventurous:

  • Round trip for 2 to Seattle from Clipper Vacations
  • Date overnight with breakfast at Chateau Victoria
  • Wine tour by LA Limousines & dinner at Il Terrazzo
  • Climb time taste test for beginners at Crag X
  • Brewery tour and beer & cheese pairings at Swans Pub
  • Couples massage at Willowstream in the Fairmont Empress
  • Storm watching or spring getaway at Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino

Beautiful treasures to enjoy:

  • Gift basket from Fan Tan Alley businesses
  • Poncho and pants from Turtle Express
  • Handmade earrings from retired Cool Aid nurse Carolyn Showler
  • Many beautiful jewellery pieces from Thistle and Bee
  • Handmade quilt and table runner thanks to The Cloth Castle
  • Handmade Irish blanket from Out of Ireland
  • Wise man porceline and silk doll from The Papery
  • A wide variety of beautiful Indigenous art from Westcoast Auctions

For the foodie in all of us:

  • Sparkle it up with Sodastream, courtesy of CI Mutual Funds
  • Kitchen linens and cooking classes from Smoking Lily & Cook Culture
  • Chocolate cookbook and gift basket from Munro’s Books and Chocolats Favoris
  • Whole Foods goodie basket
  • 8 bottles of Sea Cider and a picnic backpack loaded with treats from Market on Yates and Joyce Bourne
  • Beautiful, handcarved wooden serving bowl from JR Whiting
  • Perogie Pinchers of Victoria dish up 3 kinds of homemade perogies

Big Culture

  • Victoria Symphony concert for four
  • Two tickets to Pacific Opera’s Fidelio
  • Funky Fernwood date for 2 at Stage Wine Bar & Belfry Theatre
  • Signed & framed Robert Bateman print from Bateman Centre & Prestige Picture Framing
  • Season package from Dance Victoria
  • $500 gift certificate for music lessons from PJ Music Studios

Kids Get It!

  • Vikes Summer Camp from University of Victoria
  • One week at Camp Narnia
  • Three puzzles thanks to Oscar and Libby
  • 2 family passes & book from the Royal BC Museum
  • Butterfly Gardens pass for four

And much more!

  • Cool glasses or sunglasses (frame and lens) from Maycock Optical
  • Wellness workshop for 15 from Silk Road Tea
  • Chocolate and wine gift basket from Everything Wine & Rogers’ Chocolates
  • Sonic toothbrush thanks to Dr. G.S. Tatra
  • HD video recorder from Shaw TV
  • Bike tune up at Goldstream Bicycles
  • Happy dog bed from Pets Mart

Gift Card Garden

Visit the Gift Card Garden near the Silent Auction tables to pick up great restaurant, grocery and other local business gift cards. They can be purchased immediately at face value. Gift cards have been donated by Aura Restaurant, Butchart Gardens, Country Grocer, Cycle BC, Earls, Fish Hair Salon, Fish Hook, Red Fish Blue Fish, Fol epi, Fountain Diner, Frankie’s Modern Diner, Galaxy Motors, Great Canadian Oil, Helijet Dollars, John’s Place, La Fiesta Café, Macchiato Caffe, Max Furniture, Moore’s, Peninsula Co-op, Poppies Floral Art and Superstore.



Sponsorships still available…

A Big Thank You to Homecoming 2018 Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor



Media Sponsors

Times ColonistCHEK watch local



Platinum Sponsors

CANPRO Construction



Gold Sponsors

Phillips Brewing Company logo

Swans Hotel & BrewpubCHARD



Silver Sponsors


brink events
Strathcona Hotel

Megson Fitzpatrick insurance services


UVic







Maximum Express
















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Cool Aid To Operate Cottage Grove in Saanich

June 28, 2016 – Today, levels of government and partners gathered for the “Celebration of Construction” for Cottage Grove supportive housing (3207 Quadra in Saanich), being built for 45 seniors and others who have been homeless. Victoria Cool Aid Society, which originally purchased the property in 2014, will be the operator.

“Cottage Grove is an excellent example of Cool Aid’s long-term thinking and work towards permanent solutions to end homCottage Grove Artist's Renderingelessness,” said Kathy Stinson, CEO. “Ten years ago, we first had the vision for this property. In the last two years, all levels of government have stepped up to make this new apartment building possible.”

Capital funding has been provided by the Province, Canada, CRD, Saanich and Victoria. Initial funds that started the project were provided by Cool Aid and generous donations from individuals, businesses and foundations who contributed to the Help End Homelessness capital campaign.

Cool Aid’s Help End Homelessness capital fund was used to kickstart Cottage Grove through the initial property purchase, and was also used to complete due diligence work on Mount Edwards Court. Thanks to the Province all these funds are back in Cool Aid’s control to create more supportive housing.

Cottage Grove is expected to open early in 2017, and is part of the solution towards ending homelessness in the Capital Region.

“Collectively, we have tremendous momentum towards ending homelessness in the Capital Region,” said Stinson. “Cool Aid will continue to work with all levels of government and other community partners on permanent housing solutions that will improve hundreds of lives, more effectively  utilize taxpayer dollars, and build a better quality of life for everyone who lives in Greater Victoria.”

Cottage Grove Celebration of Construction 2016 June 28 web

– 30 –

Information:              CoolAid.org/housing

Kathy Stinson, CEO, 250-414-4792 or kstinson@CoolAid.org

Don McTavish, Director of Residential Services, 250-888-7103, dmctavish@CoolAid.org

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 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 15 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build or repurpose an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home. #buildhomes

We Welcome Supportive Housing at Central Care Home

Today, BC Housing announced their acquisition of the Central Care Home on Johnson Street and their intention to quickly renovate it to provide up to 140 units of supportive housing so that the remaining InTent City campers can be properly housed and supported.

“Cool Aid has long advocated for the conversion of Central Care Home into supportive housing with ancillary health services,” said Kathy Stinson, CEO. “Naturally we are delighted that the Province was able to purchase the property for this use.”

“As well, Cool Aid would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Vancouver’s Portland Hotel Society to the community,” said Stinson. “We look forward to working with them to house and support up to 140 people who are today homeless in the Capital Region.”

Cool Aid also looks forward to continuing to work with the Province, BC Housing, Island Health, CRD, City of Victoria, municipalities and other local service providers to continue our momentum towards ending homelessness in the Capital Region; an outcome that will improve hundreds of lives, save millions of dollars for taxpayers annually, and build a better quality of life for everyone who lives or visits Greater Victoria.

– 30 –

Information:              CoolAid.org/housing

Kathy Stinson, CEO, 250-414-4792 or kstinson@CoolAid.org

Don McTavish, Director of Residential Services, dmctavish@CoolAid.org

 

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 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 15 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home. #buildhomes

2016 AGM with Kishone Tony Roy

On June 22nd, BC Non-Profit Housing Association’s CEO Kishone Tony Roy will be the keynote speaker at Cool Aid’s Annual General Meeting. Cool Aid CEO Kathy Stinson and Board Chair René Peloquin will also be showcasing some of the work Cool Aid has done to Help End Homelessness in the past year and introducing some of the people whose lives have been touched by that work.

  • Wednesday, June 22 at noon
  • Downtown Community Centre – 755 Pandora Ave.
  • Doors open at 11:30 am – Refreshments served
  • RSVP to Beverley Renny, 250-414-4783 or brenny@CoolAid.org

CEO BCNPHA Kishone Tony Roy 2016 JuneKishone Tony Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association where he and his team serve and advocate for the affordable housing sector in BC.  Its members provide more than 60,000 units of affordable rental housing aimed at serving BC’s most disadvantaged populations. BCNPHA is currently overseeing a sector wide transformation that has seen it expand its offerings in education, research, procurement programs as well as advocacy.

In addition to the essential duties of an Annual General Meeting, we will also be taking the opportunity to express our gratitude for the generosity of the many volunteers, private donors, funders, community partners and our dedicated staff. The overwhelming support of these people and organizations enable Cool Aid to provide essential support through shelter, housing, health and other services to those most in need in the Capital Region.

Harm Reduction and Housing Research

At the Victoria Cool Aid Society we believe strongly in the effectiveness of housing first, which means that we are better able to help people overcome the issues that caused them to experience homelessness once they have a safe, supportive home to live in.

Harm reduction is an essential part of housing first. Harm reduction means keeping people safe and acting to reduce the harmful impacts of substance use, including death, disease, injury, and trauma. For example, relapses are a common aspect of addiction recovery. With the harm reduction approach, residents are provided with counseling and support to overcome cravings and, if necessary, avoid harmful behaviours during a relapse by using clean, safe medical equipment, by being in a safe place where emergency help is readily available, and biomedical waste can be sanitarily disposed of. Victoria Cool Aid Society supportive housing buildings commonly offer clean medical supplies and safe disposal containers, as well as 24/7 counseling and support.

The housing first approach and harm reduction can seem counter-intuitive to those who are unfamiliar with the experience of addictions and homelessness.

When learning about this approach for the first time it is helpful to remember that not just at Cool Aid, but throughout Canada and internationally, there is a well-established body of evidence from both service providers and experts that housing first is the best practice in helping people overcome homelessness, especially when homelessness and addictions overlap.

Below are links to information and research on how housing first works and what it is, from local to international:

Below are links to information and research specifically about harm reduction, a vital component of the housing first model.

Seniors Inspire Local Legend


If you already know about Olympic Vista and the talented seniors living there, you might already know about Yvonne and the amazing song she wrote for their jam sessions. You can watch her perform it with fellow tenants Tony (in orange) and Louis (in the wheelchair) and Cool Aid seniors programmer Robert Dunsmuir (in the back), or click here to listen to the original recording of Yvonne’s My Arms Are Empty Without You.

You can also read the original web story right here.

The original recording made its way through the grapevine to local blues legend Bill Johnson. Bill liked it so much that he recorded a full studio version with the Bill Johnson Band!

BJ BandClick here to listen to the incredible Bill Johnson Band performing My Arms Are Empty Without You.

We would like to send a huge thanks to Bill Johnson and his band for making this possible. It means a great deal to Yvonne and the other seniors who have overcome personal tragedy, stigma, and homelessness and achieved a high quality of life at Olympic Vista.

This was all possible in part thanks to the generous support of BC Housing, Island Health and the Victoria Foundation, providing funding for Cool Aid’s Seniors Recreation Worker, Rob Dunsmuir to host regular weekly activities and special seasonal outings year-round at Cool Aid’s three supportive housing facilities dedicated to seniors.

Mount Edwards FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions are below.

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 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 16 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich – including 12 supportive housing apartment buildings. The Society’s major campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home.

The Mount Edwards property at 1002 Vancouver Street is well designed for the purpose – and currently houses 38 individuals on the main floor. Other features include a dining area, lounge, offices for support staff and a large interior courtyard.

The FAQ below (Frequently Asked Questions) has been prepared to answer some of the most common questions we hear about Mount Edwards Court.

Contact information can be found below should you want to speak to someone from Cool Aid or are interested in a tour of existing Mount Edwards or other Cool Aid programs; an opportunity to meet our staff and tenants.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to read the answer.

Who Lives at Mount Edwards Court?

What About Mental Illness, Drugs and Addictions?

Aren’t Neighbourhood Impacts Unacceptable?

What About Neighbourhood Consultation and Rezoning?


Answers to Questions


Question:
Who lives in these apartments?

Answer: The profile of residents in Mount Edwards is very similar to the existing profile of residents served in all of Cool Aid’s other ten supportive housing buildings: 70% male and 30% female; about 40% between 19 and 39 years old, 47% between 40 and 55 years, and 13% over 55.

All people housed in Mount Edwards Court have been previously homeless.

The 38 small apartments are intended for a wide variety of needs and ages, including mental health conditions, addictions, head injuries and fetal alcohol syndrome for men and women who have been homeless and require housing and support services.

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Question: What are your screening criteria for Mount Edwards residents?

Answer: The screening process is a complex one that includes:

  • the use of a vulnerability assessment tool
  • interviewing the prospective tenants
  • talking with our staff, other service providers and helping professionals who know the candidates, and
  • weighing their suitability for the current mix of residents and the neighbourhood

The goal is to create a mix of residents that is balanced and manageable, while providing a high level of support for those who need it.

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Question: Why don’t you do Criminal Record checks on prospective tenants? How can you ensure that sex offenders are screened out?

In British Columbia, landlords and property managers acting on their behalf must adhere to the privacy rules contained in the BC Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). These guidelines are intended to assist landlords and property managers in discharging their duties under the Residential Tenancy Act (“RTA”) in a manner that respects the privacy of tenants and promotes transparency in the operation of landlord and tenant relationships.

A landlord cannot as a condition of renting or providing any service to a tenant, ask for consent to collect personal information beyond what is necessary to provide tenancy or that service. Requiring a criminal records check is not reasonably necessary.

Sex offenders are on strict orders that prohibit them from being in areas where children are in close proximity. They must report their address to their probation / parole officer who would preclude them from residing at Mount Edwards; or indeed any apartment building in close proximity to a school.

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Question: How will you find permanent homes for the people now living in Mount Edwards Court, when there are so few vacant apartments in Victoria and considering how expensive they are?

Answer: This question underscores the fact that there are currently not enough affordable rentals in the Capital Region. In the long term, the solution is continued construction of permanent affordable and supportive housing by all levels of government.

In the short term, Cool Aid is committed to finding permanent homes for the residents living in Mount Edwards Court. We do this by moving some of the residents who need a higher level of support into our other eleven apartment buildings, some into apartments operated by other non-profit organizations, and some into regular “market” apartments by subsidizing their rental costs and providing on-site support as needed. As of March 2017, 18 residents had been moved out of Mount Edwards into permanent housing.

Cool Aid’s long-term goal is, with community support, to build 360 more supportive housing apartments to help address this critical community need. Mount Edwards apartments were the first.

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Question: Are guests allowed at Mount Edwards Court?

Answer: Cool Aid does not allow guests into the building to ensure that residents feel safe in their homes.

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Question: I know a lot of street people have pets. Do you allow pets at Mount Edwards Court or any of your other eleven apartment buildings?

Answer: Pets are very important to people who have been homeless which is why most Cool Aid properties, including Mount Edwards, welcome our clients’ pets.

In fact, one of Cool Aid’s supporters is the Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS), whose donors provide a significant amount of food for pets who are living with Cool Aid clients.

As well, Cool Aid has set up a “Pets In Need Endowment” at the Victoria Foundation to help our clients with some of their pet expenses, such as operations, thanks to a generous bequest in his will from the late Carl Young.

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Question: Are the people living at Mount Edwards Court employed?

Answer: It might surprise neighbours to learn that a significant number of people who live in Cool Aid housing, including Mount Edwards, have regular jobs, as well as casual work. (This is also true of people staying in emergency shelters, like Rock Bay Landing and Sandy Merriman House.)

As well, Cool Aid has a longstanding policy of providing employment training opportunities for residents who want to gain some skills and earn a bit of money. Their janitorial contributions help build community and pride within the apartment buildings as well as providing new skills.

Other Cool Aid programs also provide employment training and placement opportunities for our residents and other clients:

  • Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool provides a free placement service for employers and casual workers who are available, trained and ready to work, including home owners who need help gardening, moving or with other needs.
  • The Downtown Community Centre, operated by Cool Aid at 755 Pandora Avenue near City Hall, provides employment training opportunities, lifeskills courses and healthy recreation opportunities for our residents and others. The free Community Kitchen program, for example, provides training in nutrition, food purchasing, preparation and storage, and leads to a Food Safe certification for participants.

The Beacon Services-Cool Aid Thrift Shop at 715 Pandora Avenue provides Cool Aid clients with employment training opportunities in retail operations as well as an inexpensive place to purchase clothing, household goods and other needed essentials.

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Question: What are the expected outcomes for your residents?

Answer: Cool Aid’s agreement with the Province is quite clear about the expected outcomes for our residents. We are required to find permanent housing and any necessary supports that are needed for our Mount Edwards residents and help them move out. During that process, Cool Aid supports them in a variety of ways to improve their wellbeing, including help in locating employment, addiction treatment and improved health care.

As of March 2017, 18 of our Mount Edwards residents have been successfully moved into permanent housing elsewhere.

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Question: Does Cool Aid have any measurable results or evidence to show that your programs and services are successful?

Yes, Cool Aid utilizes a Balanced Scorecard methodology to measure our progress towards meeting our strategic objectives and reports out annually to the community. Cool Aid has also been featured in local and national research as an example of best practices in supportive housing.

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Question:
Is it true that low barrier housing has been found to be detrimental to drug addiction recovery?

Answer: Perhaps counter-intuitively, the opposite has in fact been found. Insisting that people become “clean” before providing them with safe and secure housing simply keeps people homeless for longer – leading to more problems in neighbourhoods and more cost to taxpayers.

What works better is harm reduction and housing first, where people are accepted no matter what their condition, helped to stabilize in housing, and then encouraged to work on whatever challenges have caused them to become homeless.

Moving forward, people who have problematic substance use challenges will not be allowed into Mount Edwards Court, including intravenous (IV) drug users.

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Question:
Are there policies requiring residents to take prescribed medication for mental health conditions, and if so is this enforced through supervision?

Answer: One of the important roles that our round-the-clock Housing Support Workers provide is medication monitoring. As well, they interact with tenants every day to ensure that they are doing well and have all the support they need. When outside services are required, such as an ambulance, they are called in.

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Question:
Will there be a safe injection site at Mount Edward?

Answer: No. There will be no drop-in services at the Mount Edward Court. Services are for residents only. Residents using intravenous (IV) drugs will not be allowed to move into the building.

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Question:
It sounds dangerous to house people with mental illness and addictions right beside Cathedral School. What assurances can you give that our children will not be harmed?

Answer: Sometimes when Cool Aid proposes a new apartment building neighbours are fearful. They often think that supportive housing looks like an emergency shelter or drop-in service where there can be spillover effects onto the sidewalk. Once we open and neighbours discover that the building is well managed and the residents well supported, there are very few problems or complaints. Check out the locations of our 16 facilities on this map.

Mount Edwards Court has been operating in the neighbourhood for over a year, since February 2016, with very little impact to the neighbourhood.

Cool Aid’s own properties on the 700-block of Pandora Avenue provide an excellent example of how supportive housing can work well with neighbours, businesses and children nearby. 112 Cool Aid residents are housed on the block (including eight residents 19 years or younger).

The Downtown Community Centre is located immediately below/adjacent to 85 apartments for both adults and youth under 19 years.

Every weekday during the school year, groups of daycare providers rent the Community Centre’s gymnasium space for their preschool children to enjoy. As you can see from this letter from a daycare provider, this has been working well for over 20 years for both the preschoolers and Cool Aid residents who benefit from their positive energy and encourage each other to be respectful and positive. To quote the daycare provider from her letter:

“Never in this time [20 years] have I or my children ever felt intimidated by the residents/clients of the facilities. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The residents/clients take great delight in watching the children and sometimes interacting with them – always with care and politeness and only after we have spoken first. I encourage the children to talk to everyone and if too shy to at least smile. The older children now recognize some of the longer time residents/clients and run up to say hi or show a special treasure they have. I really think this benefits the children and the residents/clients.”

Leagh Lawrence, Pedal Pusher Daycare

Additionally, for many years, the site was a host of the Out of the Rain youth shelter, for youth 19 years or younger who are homeless.

Cool Aid would be pleased to tour you through one of our sites, including Mount Edwards Court, so you can see for yourself how well a staffed supportive housing building fits into a neighbourhood even with child and youth services on site.

For tour bookings or information, please call Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781 or email arycroft@CoolAid.org.

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Question: Isn’t it true that Mount Edwards is a social experiment, providing supportive housing for such a large group beside an elementary school?

Answer: Mount Edwards Court is not a “social experiment”. There are numerous similiar projects located adjacent to schools in the Lower Mainland including Mole Hill & Lord Roberts Annex and Biltmore & Nightingale, which you can read about by clicking on the links.

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Question:
How many staff are supporting the residents and neighbourhood at Mount Edwards Court?

Answer: Staffing levels are very high for just 38 residents and the neighbourhood.

Three professional resident support workers is the minimum staffing level at the site – even during the middle of the night!

There is also a full-time Client Support Worker dedicated to assisting residents with their goal planning, such as finding work, a permanent home and healthcare. Additionally there are visiting professionals such as nurses during weekdays. Finally, there is janitorial/maintenance staff and meals are being prepared off-site at our Swift House kitchen. Mount Edwards has much higher staffing levels than Pandora Avenue, where we have successfully housed 112 residents for years with youth and child-serving programs on site every single day, including weekends.

We invite you to speak with our staff at Mount Edwards Court, or any other location, anytime. You can call Mount Edwards any hour of the day at 778-265-3456.

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Questions: What are your expectations of the residents?

Answers: At Mount Edwards Court, there is a dedicated staff person who works with the residents on developing and implementing their own personal plans for community integration. This could include, for example, goals and strategies to find permanent housing, employment, addiction treatment and improved health care.

Different people have different levels of success in improving their situation and resolving challenges.

At minimum, Cool Aid requires that all residents behave in appropriate ways both in the building and the neighbourhood. Any resident that is unable to be a good neighbour will be asked and assisted to help change any antisocial behaviours. If they are unsuccessful, the person may be moved to another building or evicted if necessary.

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Question: Is there a process for neighbourhood input and consultation?

Answer: See below (question about zoning).

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Question:
Anyone who makes a modification to their home has to go through rezoning before proceeding. Why is the Province being allowed to do whatever they want in this building without a required rezoning?

Answer: By law, the Province has the right to avoid municipal zoning regulations.

However, the Province, the City of Victoria and Cool Aid have all publicly committed to a public rezoning process for Mount Edwards Court. For information on current zoning matters, please visit the main Mount Edwards Court web page.

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Additional Mount Edwards Information:

Mount Edwards main page

Housing First Research summary

Call Mount Edwards staff:  778-265-3456

Tours or more info about Cool Aid: Alan Rycroft, arycroft@CoolAid.org, 250-414-4781

Additional Housing Campaign Information

Help End Homeless campaign to house 360 people

Relevant definitions

Hundreds of Paintings Donated

February 27, 2016 — Today, Cool Aid received one of the most interesting donations we have seen in several years – literally hundreds of artworks were delivered to Cool Aid’s newest apartment building, Mount Edwards Court, from a consortium of donors:

2 Burley Men help Cool Aid staff and residents move hundreds of paintings.

2 Burley Men help Cool Aid staff and residents move hundreds of paintings.

A donation of this magnitude is only possible with the cooperative efforts of hundreds of people, including the buyers whose purchases benefited Victoria Hospice.

These paintings will soon be adorning the walls of Cool Aid’s 15 buildings throughout the Capital Region, and some will be held in reserve for future buildings, such as Cottage Grove for seniors. Literally thousands of Cool Aid clients will benefit from the more beautiful surroundings where they access services every day.

A big thank you to the donors, Order of St. John, Victoria Hospice and 2 Burley Men for making the lives of some of Greater Victoria’s more vulnerable citizens a little brighter today – and every day. Your generosity is inspiring!

Just some of the artworks ready for hanging in Cool Aid’s 15 buildings.Just some of the artworks ready for hanging in Cool Aid’s 15 buildings.

Meet Darcy Shier, Housing Resident

Sometime after the age of 21 years, I had a problem with schizophrenia and this changed my life. About a decade had passed by, and gratefully the Mental Health Region offered to help me. I had a good follow up and now take medication daily which seems to work.

It is not a fun memory; having depression and knowing I could not manage a home as an adult. With the proper health workers and the support of Cool Aid, I have now been residing at Pandora Place apartments since 1997.

The housing staff have a friendly and comfortable relationship with all the tenants and they know how to do their job maturely and efficiently when solving a problem.

In the late 1990s, I was capable of entering school and this experience gave me the option to get work in the retail field. The courses I have taken over the years have included: St. John Ambulance First Aid Response, Typing/Keyboarding, Food Safe Sanitation, Community Housing, Retail Industry Training, Superhost Customer Fundamentals, English and Basic Skill Training.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince taking the classes the learning was applied and I found a position I perform daily at The Bay Street Broker/ Venture Vending Company. I started with them in December 2000, and the employment has not changed very much over the last 15 years.

As well, I arranged a job at my home with Cool Aid and this honorarium allowance did help out in tough times.

It has been nearly two decades ago since I started with Cool Aid. I appreciate the generosity of being employed by a local non-profit organization, who have been working together with the Capital Region and Downtown Mental Health.

The Housing Manager John Crean has given me a few opportunities over the years. I have been eligible for maintenance control of the block in front of our building since 1997. I also have an obligation since 1997 to take on the responsibilities of a custodian janitor. I am part of a crew where we are each given our tasks to complete one day of the week.

Continuous job-related programs had been offered by the Downtown Community Centre. They created a janitorial position that can be done after the doors have closed to the public and regular members have left the building. This position included sanitation to areas being cleaned and controlling matters in the atmosphere which can bring many hygienic problems. Mostly the duties were common office cleaning, cleanliness throughout washrooms, outdoor courtyard maintenance and kitchen cleaning. My responsibilities later included sweeping the gymnasium and mopping 3-4 times a week.

John Crean has allowed for my skills to grow and for me to become useful at 753-755 Pandora Avenue, while seasonal duties were performed outside the YMCA Youth Residential Occupancy Apartments in the building.

I am available for new jobs and my skills are transferable to any company.

I courageously have been developing a trust with this local non-profit society and am still employed as a custodian and care for an entire building block in downtown Victoria. I am interested in other janitorial activities for another company. I have earned many job skills, and know how important it is to have cleanliness within a productive company.

Sandy Merriman House Celebrates 20th Anniversary

NEWS RELEASE

December 16, 2015 – Cool Aid’s Sandy Merriman House emergency shelter for women has been serving the most vulnerable women in our community for 20 years. The shelter opened its doors for the first time on December 19, 1995. It had 15 beds for women in need and the length of stay for each resident was seven days.

Supporters and the public are welcome to join us this Monday, December 21, from 1 to 4 pm, to acknowledge the past, celebrate the present, and cheer for the future of Sandy Merriman House, 809 Burdette Avenue, across from the courthouse. Activities:

1:15 pm Cakes and speeches
1:30, 2:30 & 3:30 pm Tours

Sandy Merriman House was built by women for women and continues to be operated by women. Its construction was documented in a Knowledge Network movie available on Cool Aid’s YouTube channel. The construction provided employment for disadvantaged women who were interested in being trained in construction skills. The shelter and drop in space is named after one of the trainees involved in the project: Sandy Merriman died of an accidental drug overdose; in honour of her memory the building now bears her name.

Today, Sandy Merriman House has 25 beds and its daytime drop-in program serves over 800 hot, nutritious meals each month. The 24/7 shelter serves self-identified women of all cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation and religious beliefs, 19 years and older. Many are managing difficult circumstances including mental health, addictions, poverty, homelessness, hunger, sex trade work, abuse and isolation.

“Sandy Merriman House’s history is one of vision, strength, heart and courage,” said shelter coordinator Christine O’Brien. “Twenty years have passed but the message remains the same: Cool Aid is here to provide the support and services that people need and deserve.”

– 30 –

Information: CoolAid.org/smh     YouTube.com/watch?v=pZgAf_qPeBM

Christine O’Brien, 250-480-1408 or cobrien@CoolAid.org

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 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 14 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home. #buildhomes

Rock Bay Landing Emergency Shelter Celebrates 5 Years

This Thursday, November 5, Rock Bay Landing emergency shelter and transitional housing is celebrating five years of service with an Open House and activities for members of the public. Rock Bay opened five years ago today (Nov. 3, 2010), allowing an additional 23 apartments to be built at the old Streetlink shelter downtown. The following activities are open to the public and media:

10 – 11:30 – Pancake Brunch Open-House and United Way Employee Giving Kick-Off
Primarily aimed at clients and staff, but open to everyone, including tiny tricycle races, capes and games of chance.

11:30 – Tour of Rock Bay Landing

Open to everyone – learn about Victoria’s largest emergency shelter, facilitated by a member of the shelter management team.

12 pm – Cake Cutting and Celebration

Open to everyone – a special invitation extended to Rock Bay Landing neighbours and Victoria community members to celebrate this milestone with us.

1 Tour of Rock Bay Landing

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Medicated – A Cool Night of Comedy with Mike MacDonald

poster-Medicated-Victoria-2015Medicated Raises over $1,400 for Cool Aid’s REES Programs

Hecklers Comedy Club
Tuesday, October 13th at 8PM

Mike MacDonald came to Victoria on October 13th for a sold-out night of comedy for a great cause. Mike has appeared on HBO, Showtime, the Comedy Network, and Late Night With David Letterman. He holds the record for 25 appearances on CBC’s Just For Laughs and has also starred in three critically acclaimed television specials, and his full talents were on display this Tuesday as he inspired support for a cause that is close to his heart.

Mike has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and hepatitis C, and in 2013 underwent a successful seven-hour liver transplant operation. Besides trying to entertain and educate audiences about the prevention of liver related illnesses he has also spoken out from personal experience about addiction, and the stigma attached to mental illness.

Melanie Rose, Mark Robertson and Paul Oppers also took the stage to support Cool Aid’s REES program and fill the room with laughter.

Melanie Rose has been performing since 2007, and in 2014 was featured on the APTN show She Kills Me. In addition to her standup comedy, Melanie is dedicated to working with mental health organizations to remove the stigma of mental illness. She works for a community housing and shelter society in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and has performed for Pacific Blue Cross, Correctional Services and numerous medical health professional associations.

Mark Robertson has been performing standup comedy for 7 years, currently producer as and host of his own weekly show, RATFISH.

Paul Oppers can be seen all over town performing comedy, music and theatre. He finds time around his busy performance schedule to work with the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Last august he performed at the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards, and Paul Co-Produces a number of comedy shows in Victoria working hard to build a sense of community through collaboration and mutual respect within disenfranchised groups. Paul is grateful to be a part of such a worthwhile show and hopes to see you all there!

This very special event benefits the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s REES Program, supporting people struggling with mental health and addictions challenges. It was also a terrific night of entertainment for everyone.

Thank you so much Mike, Mark, Melanie, and Paul for this great event!

 

Three Apartment Buildings Planned to House 185 People

The Society’s “Help End Homelessness” campaign is working to build 360 more supportive housing apartments for people who are homeless in the Capital Region. We are currently developing three properties with room for 185 people to live (51% of the campaign target of 360).

“This is a very exciting time for Cool Aid and the community, as we work towards actually ending homelessness, with Victoria and the Capital Region potentially leading the country in a new direction,” said executive director Kathy Stinson. “The fact that ending homelessness costs less than leaving people to suffer in our streets and parks can give everyone great hope and confidence that together we will succeed.”

“I am delighted that Victoria’s Planning & Governance committee has recommended taking its bold plan for funding the construction of 367 apartments to the CRD,” she continued. “As well, we will need to secure ongoing, operational funding to ensure adequate support services are in place.”

Cool Aid recently had its conditional offer on an unoccupied building accepted. If the deal can be completed by mid-November, 101 people who are homeless could be housed in the “Dr. Joe Haegert Centre”, which will also offer support and health services on site for tenants. The Society is currently undertaking engineering, architectural and fundraising work before it can sign off on the deal.

Cool Aid also plans to redevelop its Cedar Grove property, with the goal of adding an additional 39 apartments to the 21 currently on site. Pre-development work is currently underway.

City-of-Vic-Campaign-Gift-2015-main-page-BannerThe CRD’s Regional Housing Trust Fund added the final $675,000 in funding for Cottage Grove – a multi-million project to house 45 seniors in Saanich who are currently homeless. With this final piece of funding, Cool Aid hopes to break ground before the year’s end with its partners, including Victoria, Saanich and the CRD.

“Taken together, these three properties, if acted upon quickly, could house 185 people who are currently homeless, by the end of 2018,” said Kathy Stinson. “Cool Aid continues to actively look for other suitable properties, funding to support the ongoing operations, and $5 million in gifts, to build a total of 360 apartments during our campaign.”

Interested persons, businesses and organizations who wish to get involved in the Help End Homelessness campaign are invited to contact Kathy Stinson at:

  • kstinson@CoolAid.org or 250-414-4792
  • CoolAid.org/buildhomes
  • Or #buildhomes and VicCoolAid on social media

– END –

Information:              CoolAid.org/buildhomes

Kathy Stinson, 250-414-4792, kstinson@CoolAid.org

 

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 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year, at 14 locations in Langford, Victoria and Saanich. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home. #buildhomes

Victoria Cool Aid Society currently operates 374 supportive housing apartments, in ten apartment buildings, for people who have been homeless. Each property has on-site housing support workers to ensure that the tenants succeed in staying housed and healthy.

Additional Information:

Victoria & Saanich Partner on Supportive Seniors Housing

In a historic decision, the City of Victoria has decided to support Cool Aid’s next apartment building, located in Saanich, near Quadra Street and Tolmie Avenue, one block outside the Victoria boundary. When completed, Cottage Grove Apartments will house 45 seniors who are currently homeless.

“Victoria’s Mayor and Council voted to match the $112,000 grant which was pledged last year by the District of Saanich,” said Kathy Stinson. “This is not only a prudent investment by Victoria, where most of the future tenants (who are homeless) currently live, but it is an encouragement to all local municipalities to work together to end homelessness in the Capital Region.”

“The City of Victoria is thrilled to partner with the District of Saanich, the Cool Aid Society and other funders to make Cottage Grove become a reality,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “Homeless seniors are among the most vulnerable people on the City’s streets. This innovative partnership will address the housing needs of 45 of them.”

“The District of Saanich is proud to show its continued support for affordable housing in the community,” said Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell.  In September 2014, Saanich Council approved a grant from the Saanich Affordable Housing Fund for Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Cottage Grove project located on Quadra Street, in the District of Saanich.  “Recognizing that housing affordability is not only a local, but a regional issue, Saanich is pleased to work in partnership with the City of Victoria in providing funding to this important housing initiative,” continued the Mayor.

Cool Aid currently operates 374 apartments for people who have been homeless. Cottage Grove will be the Society’s 11th apartment building and its fourth building devoted to seniors. It is anticipated that the partners will break ground on the new property in the next few months.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is committed to creating 360 apartments for people who are homeless in the Capital Region and is on the lookout for additional properties and buildings suited for re/development.

Interested persons, businesses and organizations who wish to get involved in the Help End Homelessness campaign are invited to contact Cool Aid at:

Over $30,000 Raised to End Homelessness!

Web-side-page-Golf-2015 The dedicated team from Raymond James once again organized an amazing afternoon of golf and prizes this August to help end homelessness in Greater Victoria.

On Friday, August 28th at Bear Mountain over 100 local business and community leaders joined us for the most successful Drive to End Homelessness yet!

Please join us in thanking all of our amazing sponsors:United Rentals

TC Logo CMYKRBC

DynamicWestJet cropped

Sponsor List

 

 

 

Seniors sing out at Cool Aid Housing

Rob-Yvonne-Tony-2014While the blues might conjure images of sadness and depression, at Olympic Vista they are something to look forward to every week. There, seniors who have struggled with homelessness, addictions, and poverty can relax, make friends, and discover hidden talents and passions that were impossible to pursue on their own.

For Yvonne, that means the chance to write and perform her own music at regular jam sessions.

Click here to listen to the live recording from Olympic Vista of Yvonne and four fellow Olympic Vista residents having fun with one of her original songs, My Arms Are Empty Without You.

Playing on the recording are:

  • Yvonne (Lead Vocals), pictured center.
  • Tony (Rhythm Guitar), pictured right.
  • Rob (Bass Guitar), pictured left.
  • Andy (Lead Guitar)
  • Louis (Acoustic Guitar)
  • Kingston (Bongos)

Thanks to the generous support of BC Housing, Island Health and the Victoria Foundation, Cool Aid’s Rob Dunsmuir hosts regular weekly activities and special seasonal outings year-round at Cool Aid’s three supportive housing facilities dedicated to seniors.

As well as his musicianship, Rob uses his talent for gardening and his background as a professional cook to host garden-to-table workshops, outdoor activities, and a host of activities that encourage new and long-term residents to stay active, make friends, and take an active role in each building.

Cool Aid AGM 2015 with Frank Bourree

How can businesses help to end homelessness in Greater Victoria?

If anyone can help us answer this question, it’s Frank Bourree. CEO of Chemistry Consulting, Chair of the Board of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Board of the Victoria Community Living Foundation, and a Director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Frank deeply cares about growing our community into a healthy and prosperous place for everyone.

On June 24th Frank Bourree and Cool Aid Executive Director Kathy Stinson will have a conversation about how businesses can help make that happen. Kathy Stinson and Board President Brad Clark will also be showcasing some of the work Cool Aid has done to help end homelessness in the past year, and introducing some of the people whose lives have been touched by that work.

2015-AGM-FrankCool Aid AGM

  • Wednesday, June 24th, at 12 noon.
  • Downtown Community Centre: 755 Pandora Avenue.
  • Doors open at 11:30 am.

 

As well as the essential duties of an Annual General Meeting, we will also be taking the opportunity to express our gratitude for the generosity of the many volunteers, private donors, funders, community partners, and our dedicated staff. The overwhelming support of these people and organizations enable Cool Aid to provide essential support through shelter, housing, health and other services to those most in need in the Capital Region.

Support Every Step Counts at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon 2015

Bottle Depot Customers Support REES in May

Bottle Depot's Charity Donation Bin“Every day we see people in need at the Bottle Depot,” said Kelly Gorman, Operations Manager at Bottle Depot. “In addition to accepting empties from these hard-working men and women, we wanted to do something more to help.” Throughout the month of May, Bottle Depot will donate all refunds from bottles placed by the public in the large yellow charity donation bins to the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s REES Program.

Every month Bottle Depot supports a local charity through these charity bins, which have raised over $120,000 since they started the project in 2010. “These donations mean we can continue to help women and men who are living with a mental health or addiction challenge,” said Lori Ferguson, Coordinator of REES (Resources, Education, Employment & Support). “We provide employment opportunities and help with housing, income supports, volunteer opportunities and more, for about 100 people every day.”

Other charities supported by Bottle Depot include CFAX Santas Anonymous and the Mustard Seed. “Our staff and management team are 100% behind the charity bottle drive,” says Gorman “If it weren’t for our customers and staff backing it, we wouldn’t have $120,000 to give.”

Bins are available 24 hours a day outside at two Greater Victoria locations:

  • 4261 Glanford Avenue
  • 3961 Quadra Street
  • and at 655 Queens Avenue

Bottle returns can also help Cool Aid throughout the year, simply by delivering them to Bottle Depot and letting the teller know you wish your refund to be donated to Cool Aid.

Thank You Shelter Volunteers!

This week we would like to send out a special thanks to all the wonderful people who generously give their time to help people in need. Volunteer support is an essential part of the personal comfort and care that foster the feelings of belonging, dignity, and hope that are an essential part of the journey out of homelessness. Shelter Volunteers provide more than a shower, chess game, or a new pair of shoes. Shelter Volunteers show us that everyone is unique and valuable. They remind us that wherever we are, someone cares about us and wants to help.

To celebrate their gift, we’d like to introduce you to some of the unique individuals that mean so much to us:

Kyle, Carli and Erin open the Rock Bay Landing hygiene Erin Kyle Carliestation, which allows people to access showers and the clothing room. They clean counters, fill shampoo containers, and bring in cookies we’ve made for people to enjoy. Carli’s favourite part is bringing in cookies to share, while Kyle’s favourite job is sorting donated clothes and making new friends. What’s the most important part of volunteering to them? “Be kind, be kind, be kind!”

 

Zohar SZohar helps people access the public computers at Rock Bay Landing. “The reason I come to volunteer each week is the joy I have from the positive interaction with staff and clients. I feel I am appreciated for making a difference each time I come. The training workshops Cool Aid offers it’s volunteers are great and have helped me understand the social issues in our community. Volunteering creates awareness and is a great way to meet different people.”

 

Geri facilitates an open art therapy studio at Sandy Merriman House that isSMH1 Geri open to all women, whether they reside at the shelter or not. “I come every week because I feel making art is empowering in positive, nurturing ways. I see relaxation, social interaction, and building communication skills. There is a healing component in creativity. I am motivated by the courage and emotional strength it takes to survive in poverty, isolation and homelessness. I cannot imagine myself homeless, yet I try to be aware that it is always a possibility. Things can happen to any one of us that put us in that position.”

Eric M When Eric isn’t volunteering at Cool Aid’s shelters, he is serving our community through the armed forces, volunteering with AIDS Vancouver Island’s Men’s Wellness Program, or helping people prepare for the next Times Colonist 10K as a TC10K Clinic leader. “I volunteer with the hygiene department to ensure that people have access to clean clothes, showers, and shower supplies, and have a friendly face to say hi to. My favourite part is seeing the difference that a shower and clean clothes makes in someone’s life.”

 

Kat and Carmelle volunteer their acupuncture skills at Cool Aid shelters. Carmelle describes her volunteer role as “a needle poker, space holder, story listener, and herb smudger. I’m giving back to the community I came from. As an inner city youth I didn’t have access to a lot of health services. its extremely rewarding to offer the support to others you wish you had. There is a kinship that exists among people with a shared experience and it makes the work healing for me, too.”

Kat is a re-defining immigrant, slow-food cyclist, free range mom and realistic acupuncturist. “Homelessness in Victoria can be anybody: a mother, brother, grandparent or youth. Taking personal responsibility for the most vulnerable individuals in our community impacts your dignity, not just
theirs.”

On behalf of the hundreds of people you bring smiles to every day, thank you!

Thank you Volunteers!

We couldn’t be more proud of our volunteers and the work they do each year to help thousands of people overcome homelessness.

This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and we are so excited to say a big thank you for all the support they provide. Volunteers help Cool Aid clients:

  • Stay healthyderek-ford-volunteers
  • Make a friend
  • Start healthy habits
  • Have someone to talk to
  • Find the supports they need
  • Find clean clothes and do laundry
  • Receive a Christmas present
  • Feel like someone cares about them
  • Make new homes and services possible
  • Have a second meal that day
  • Learn to express themselves through art
  • Feel included and welcome in our community

And so much more.

Volunteers, whether you give an hour or a month, know that all of us at Cool Aid are profoundly grateful for your help in ending homelessness.

Together, we come a little closer every year!

A good will makes all the difference

To everyone reading this, the Victoria Cool Aid Society wants you to lead a long, happy life. As part of Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia (April 6-12), we also urge you to reach out to your professional advisor and write or update your will. Having an up-to-date will is the best way to protect the interests of your children and loved ones, and to ensure that your favourite charities receive the bequest you may wish to give.

If you have never considered a will, it’s the perfect time to start! There are some easy resources to help you planning:

Cool Aid cannot provide legal advice on how to write your will although we are happy to talk to you about our work and your wishes. If you are considering a bequest to Cool Aid, talk to your lawyer, notary or financial advisor about the right method of giving for you. For more information about leaving a bequest in your will for Cool Aid, click here or contact Alan Rycroft (250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org) or Kathy Stinson (250-383-1977).

If you do decide to leave a gift in your will to Cool Aid, we appreciate hearing about it. Knowing your wishes will help ensure that your gift is used as intended. Knowing you personally allows us to thank you today for your future generosity.

Online gaming never felt so good!

Local gaming company Codename EntertainmentBushwhacker2Puppy just helped end homelessness in a creative new way.  Between March 25-27, players of Bush Whacker 2 and Egg Breaker Adventures could purchase limited edition in-game items and support the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Help End Homelessness Campaign. In 48 hours, $2,250 in worldwide sales from these items coming to Codename Entertainment was donated, helping Cool Aid to build 360 apartments for people who are homeless in Greater Victoria.

Thank you Codename Entertainment, and gamers everywhere who supported this project!

“In Victoria business and community are two sides of the same coin,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “I’m thrilled to see tech – Victoria’s largest private sector industry – stepping forward and taking leadership to help solve Victoria’s most pressing social problem.”

Eric Jordan, Codename Entertainment’s CEO and a lifetime gamer, is also a former Cool Aid Director and former Co-Chair of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

“Homelessness is an issue very close to my heart,” Jordan said. “I wanted to break new ground by providing an opportunity for our players from around the world to make a real contribution towards ending homelessness in the Capital Region. I hope we’ll also inspire other local tech companies to create equally fun adventures for this great cause.”

“As a former software developer I have a soft spot in my heart for geeks and gamers of every flavour,” said Alan Rycroft, Cool Aid’s community relations officer. “I was excited when Eric approached us with this novel idea, because I believe the region’s biggest industry can make a huge difference and help end homelessness.”

Codename Entertainment is a company built around making games that our studio employees want to spend time playing. Between periods of intense coding and arting, you’ll find us dodging nerf darts or cursing each other out (in jest!) in the latest multiplayer battle.

Every Step Counts TC10K 2015

Gillie In Douglas 20150108 Simon DesRochersYou deserve a high-five for another great race, Victoria!

On Sunday April 26th, 2015 the Every Step Counts team embarked on their 6th annual entry in the TC 10k. With dozens of runners, walkers and volunteers we raised over $6,000 for the team, and inspired thousands with our courageous stories and amazing finishing times!

Whether you came for the run, made a pledge or helped by cheering our team down the course, thank you.

We would also like to say a special thanks to the TC10K organizers, and their many generous sponsors for making this great community event happen – thank you!

Every Step Counts in an innovative community-based walking and running program that empowers individuals who are facing challenges with mental health, addiction and homelessness. In its sixth year, Every Step Counts fosters a welcoming and encouraging environment for the six hundred and sixty participants since 2009.

The TC 10k gives participants, friends, and supporters the opportunity to show off their hard work and commitment. Join our team to help support the future of Every Step Counts.

Photo courtesy of Simon DesRochers.

Granola That Counts raises $3,700 in one month!

granola logoWe know what it’s like to eat something that makes both body and spirit stronger.

Each week at Every Step Counts, people experiencing tremendous personal challenges come out to win one more success on their journey to wellness. Over 600 runners and walkers have returned to dig into a tasty and nutritious bowl of granola, made with love from one grandmother’s recipe.

Between January 8 and February 6, 11 Thrifty Foods locations in Greater Victoria carried Granola That Counts. We sold over 150 pounds each week, generating $3,700!

Every pound sold is a step towards ensuring a sustainable future for Every Step Counts, and we are delighted by the feedback and support we received from purchasers during the month.

Where was Granola that Counts sold? Click here for a handy map!

This would not have been possible without the generous support of these local businesses:

  • Thrifty Foods for taking a chance and listing Granola That Counts at no cost during the month
  • Jena Stewart, Team Chef, and The Truffles Group, who masterminded production of the Granola in the Truffles Catering kitchen.
  • Victoria Box & Paper,  which donated all packaging and display materials for the project.
  • McAllister Marketing which donated the packaging and point of sale marketing materials.
  • Vancity provided a framework and valuable tools to embark on a social enterprise.

“Thrifty Foods is proud to support the Victoria Cool Aid Society and the Every Step Counts program. This is a partnership that was a natural fit for us,” said Vivian Chenard, Manager of Community Relations at Thrifty Foods. “When we were approached by the Every Step Counts team to partner with them to sell a local product, which in turn supports a healthy program for people in need, we knew we had a winning combination. We’ve tasted the granola and it’s delicious. Our customers will love it.”

“January, when everyone is thinking about New Year’s resolutions and their health, is an ideal time to launch a new, local health food,” said Tracy McAllister, a principal of McAllister Marketing, who contributed the Every Step Counts logo, package design and marketing materials.

Granola That Counts is made by volunteers in the Truffles Group kitchen from a local recipe featuring oats, dried cranberries, coconut, sesame seeds, toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds and dates. It is the same recipe that feeds the runners and walkers in the program every week. Each package costs just $9.99 and 100% of the proceeds support Cool Aid’s Every Step Counts running and walking program.

“I’ve been volunteering with Every Step Counts since 2009,” said Karen Palmer, co-owner with her husband Kirk, of Victoria Box & Paper Ltd. “I know how the simple act of running, walking and eating together can profoundly help people improve their lives. When Gillie asked if we could help with packaging, it was an easy decision for us to contribute.”

“We took on the provisioning of delicious and nutritious food for Every Step Counts this year, out of our Canoe Brewpub,” said Truffles Group Vice President John Reese. “It was a natural next step for us to provide expert advice and our kitchen for the granola production. This is a great product, with a great future, for a great cause. Every Step Counts really changes lives.”

Homeless Partners Challenge Stigma and Grant Holiday Wishes

Since 2005, the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List program has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate at Christmas through www.homelesspartners.com. Volunteers across Canada from partnering organizations like Catholic and Protestant churches and the BC Muslim Association interview local homeless persons, share their stories and wish lists on the website so that people in local communities can read them and send personalized gifts and messages directly to the homeless recipients through their shelters.

Homelessness in Canada has reached a crisis level with 200,000 Canadians experiencing it annually and 30,000 being homeless on any given night. Organizations who interact daily with Canadians who are less fortunate want to change the stigmas associated with the marginalization of the homeless. Once again this year, Cool Aid is partnering up with a Canadian non-profit and self-funded organization called Homeless Partners this Christmas to bridge the gaps between the public and homeless recipients and encourage personal connection.

“We have worked locally with Homeless Partners since 2006,” said Don McTavish, Cool Aid’s manager of shelters. “Their compassion and focus on providing the right gift for each individual brings great joy and practical help into the lives of our residents at an emotionally difficult time of year for many.”

Last year, the program generated almost 1,200 pledges to homeless recipients across Canada in 7 different cities and 20 different shelters.

“When the homeless feel cared about, they have a little more strength to move forward in their lives,” said Jennie Keeran, who founded homelesspartners.com in 2005 with her husband Daniel. “There’s something powerfully bonding about sitting together, and listening to someone else’s story, that promotes trust, empathy and compassion,” said Jennie. “This project provides a safe way for the community, including people of all faiths, to use their strengths and shared value for helping those in trouble. The process supports understanding and respect between different religions while they contribute to a more compassionate community that cares about the homeless.”

 

Visit www.homelesspartners.com to hear personal stories or contribute a gift.

Thank you McGregor Socks!

mcgregor_instagramOn Thursday, December 11 at 8:30 am, Rabbi Harry Brechner, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner, Cool Aid’s Don McTavish, and Michael Bloomfield and other Congregation Emanu-El volunteers distributed socks to people at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue.

The socks are the latest in a long line of very generous gifts from McGregor Socks (Toronto) now totalling over 60,000 pairs since 2007, thanks to a partnership begun by Avodah, the social action group of Congregation Emanu-El. Shipping of this gift was generously sponsored by La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.

All 6,000 pairs of socks will be given away to people who are homeless and at risk by dozens of local social service agencies that work together to help people who are or have been homeless.

 

 

Agencies Who Will Distribute Socks:

AIDS Vancouver Island

Anawim House

Beacon Out of the Rain Youth Shelter

Boys & Girls Club

Burnside Gorge Community Association

CARTS

Congregation Emanu-El

Cool Aid Community Health Clinic

Dandelion Society

Mustard Seed / Hope Farm

Human Exchange Society

James Bay Community Project / Youth Clinic

Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter

Native Friendship Centre

Our Place

Out of the Rain Youth Shelter

Pacifica Housing Services

PEERS

Rainbow Kitchen

REES Network (Cool Aid)

Salt Spring Island Community Services

Salvation Army

Single Parent Resource Centre

Sandy Merriman / Next Steps (Cool Aid)

Seasonal Shelter

Rock Bay Landing Shelter (Cool Aid)

Threshold Society

VARCS Mobile X Van

Victoria EWP Program

Boneless and Homeless

pet-food-drive-cool-aidWith a wholehearted mission to end hunger for the furry friends of people who are homeless this holiday season, Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society’s “Boneless Project” is launching its first ever Pet Food Drive on Monday, November 24th between 8am – 2pm at Rock Bay Landing at 535 Ellice Street.

“While Cool Aid shelters provides essential services like and meals a daily meal to people experiencing homelessness, we rely on donations to feed the little furry companions that mean so much to those who have so little,” said Erin Gallagher, Volunteer Administrator at Cool Aid.

Donations of dry cat and dog food, along with flea treatment medications are most urgently needed. Coffee will be generously provided to volunteers and donors by Bows & Arrows Coffee.
– Poster art by Debbie Rhodes

Eric Pedersen, Vice Chair

Lawyer, Velletta & Company

Eric PedersenEric Pedersen is a lawyer in Victoria practicing in the areas of employment, personal injury, human rights, environmental law and insurance litigation.  Eric graduated from the University of Victoria faculty of law in December 2011, and was called to the bar in February 2013.

While studying, Eric worked for the Ministry of Attorney General, and the Office of the Ombudsperson, where he contributed to the Ombudsperson’s report on Seniors’ Care.  He also worked at the First United Church shelter in Vancouver’s downtown east side, where he worked as an advocate for members of the community, providing advice and assistance with welfare, disability benefits, and supportive housing applications, and continued this work as a volunteer disability advocate in Victoria.

Eric joined the board in 2014, and serves as Vice Chair and Chair of the Planning & Governance Committee.

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Affordable Housing Best Investment for Feds

Wellesley Institute

Submission to House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

2015 Pre-­Budget Consultation Process

July 31, 2014

Increasing investment in affordable housing is good for the health of families and vulnerable Canadians, helps to build prosperous and equitable communities, and is good for jobs and the economy

Cool Aid's first supportive housing building -- Swift House

 

 

Executive summary

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance has identified six key themes for the current round of pre­‐budget consultations. An increased federal investment in housing and homelessness, as set out in our recommendations, will advance three of those themes:

  • Supporting families and helping vulnerable Canadians by focusing on health, education and training;
  • Ensuring prosperous and secure communities by providing support for infrastructure;
  • Maximizing the number and types of jobs for Canadians.

The high cost of housing is the single biggest expense for low, moderate and middle‐income Canadians. The lack of affordable housing is the largest component of precarious housing – which remains deep and persistent across Canada. On a personal level, housing is one of the most important determinants of health; and at a community level, an adequate supply of good quality and affordable housing is a key factor in ensuring population health.

The federal government, in response to deep and persistent housing issues across the country, has made certain housing investments – and has quantified the economic impact of those investments. After making a $2 billion, two-­‐year affordable housing investment as part of the 2009 stimulus budget, the federal government reported that the jobs and economic impact of the housing funding produced among the most significant jobs and economic impacts of all its stimulus measures. Jobs were generated directly in the construction trades, and indirectly in a range of other sectors. Income from those jobs was spent in food stores and elsewhere in the local economy (which boosts economic activity), and the workers paid income and other taxes (which raises revenue for the government).

Even as the federal government has made several investments in housing and homelessness since 2006, there has been a decline in overall investments as the government continues to withdraw from its long-­term commitment to affordable housing. The net effect has been a continuing decline in the number of federally-­subsidized homes at a time when housing need is growing in most parts of Canada.

We respectfully recommend that the federal government reverse the ongoing cuts to affordable housing investments, and increase funding for the two major national housing and homelessness programs. The increased investments will benefit individual Canadians and families with more healthy homes; communities and the economy will benefit from more jobs and other social and economic benefits; and, governments will benefit as the cost of housing investments is less than the estimated cost to the government of ongoing homelessness spending.

 

Read the full report online. Find out more about Wellesley Institute.

 

Homelessness Action Week 2014

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We can tell you what can be done to end homelessness in Greater Victoria, but the best way to find out is to see it for yourself.

Join us for Homelessness Action Week as we open up the homes, services, and shelters that help people overcome the challenges of having nowhere safe to call home.

Rock Bay Landing Emergency Shelter
Open House 10 am – Noon
Tuesday, October 14th
535 Ellice Street
250-383-1951

Sandy Merriman House Shelter for Women
Open House 1 pm – 3 pm
Tuesday, October 14th
809 Burdette Avenue
250-882-4670

REES: Resources Employment Education and Support service
Open House 2:30 pm – 4 pm
Thursday, October 16th
465 Swift Street
250-595-8619

All Candidates Debate on Homelessness
Downtown Community Centre, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Thursday, October 16th
755 Pandora Avenue
250-383-0076

To read more about how you can take action on homelessness this week, visit the Coalition to End Homelessness.

All Candidates Meeting on Homelessness, Housing, and Poverty

All-Candidates-Debate-Web-squareJoin us at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Centre for questions and debate between candidates in the upcoming Victoria Municipal Election.

Hosted by CBC Radio personality Gregor Craigie, candidates will answer questions related to the pressing issues of homelessness, housing, and poverty in our community.

The debate takes place between 6:30 and 8:30 pm on October 16th, at 755 Pandora Avenue. As with all the Downtown Community Centre’s activities, this event is open to the public and free of charge.

For more information on the election and an up-to-date listing of candidates, click here.

Saanich Council Backs Housing for Seniors

Saanich Council Supports Cool Aid’s 11th Supportive Housing Building. Campaign Cabinet Announced

Rob Reid thanks Saanich

At its regular Council meeting last night, the District of Saanich voted to provide an affordable housing grant of $112,000 to “Cottage Grove”, a new development of 45 supportive housing apartments for seniors who have been homeless, at 3207 Quadra, just north of Tolmie. (The development was approved unanimously on July 14th by Council.) A news conference will be held this morning at 10:15 am to show the property (just north of the Italian Bakery) and introduce the “Help End Homelessness” Campaign Cabinet.

The number of seniors who are homeless has been steadily growing in the Capital Region as has their ratio within the population of people without homes. Fully half of the 375 people presently housed by Cool Aid are 55 or older. 15% of the people temporarily staying at our emergency shelters, about 260 seniors last year, are also 55+.

Council unanimously supported this proposal, which is very similar to Cool Aid’s Olympic Vista seniors housing, that has operated successfully in Saanich for three years.

Cottage Grove is “shovel ready”. The Society has purchased the $1 million property, site architectural and landscaping plans are complete, and the development permit has been approved by Saanich. These apartments will be built quickly when the Province invests $4.8 million towards this $6.6 million building project.

“With the help of many generous donors, Cool Aid has purchased this $1 million property so that Cottage Grove can house 45 seniors who have been homeless,” said Cool Aid’s executive director Kathy Stinson. “It is a good start on ending homelessness for seniors in our community and it’s the first of several apartment buildings we will construct towards this end.”

Our campaign is called ‘Help End Homelessness’,” said Rob Reid, Campaign Chair and owner of Frontrunners and New Balance, “and we have assembled an amazing team of community leaders who are volunteering their time to raise $5 million from individuals, companies, organizations and foundations to build or repurpose 360 apartments to Help End Homelessness for 360 people.”

 The volunteer Campaign Cabinet members are:

  • Bradley Clark (Chair, Cool Aid; Financial Advisor, Raymond James)
  • Norman Gidney (Director, Cool Aid; retired business journalist)
  • Helen Hughes (Retired City of Victoria Councillor)
  • Ted Hughes, Q.C. (Consultant, Retired Judge,
    former Co-Chair, G.V. Coalition to End Homelessness)
  • Tony Joe (Realtor, Re/Max Camosun,
    former Co-Chair, G.V. Coalition to End Homelessness)
  • Rob Reid, Campaign Chair (Owner, Frontrunners and New Balance)
  • Kathy Stinson (Executive Director, Cool Aid)

The Advisor Council for the campaign includes: Chief Frank Elsner, VicPD; Maureen Duncan, Retired CEO, United Way of Greater Victoria; and Sandy Richardson, CEO Victoria Foundation. Letters of support for the campaign have been received from Chief Frank Elsner, Downtown Residents Association, Downtown Victoria Business Association and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

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. Cool Aid currently operates 374 apartments for people who have been homeless, in ten buildings in Langford, Victoria and Saanich – including three buildings dedicated to seniors. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps over 9,000 people in the Capital Region every year. The Society’s major new campaign is “Help End Homelessness”, to build an additional 360 apartments for people in the community who have no home.

Information:

Alan Rycroft, 250-414-4781 or arycroft@CoolAid.org

You are registered for Transformations

TC 10k 2014Thank you for reserving your tickets for Transformations!

You will receive an email confirmation of the number of tickets purchased as well as your billing information. If you do not receive confirmation within 24 hours, or if you would like more information about this event or the program it supports, please contact Christopher Geater at cgeater@CoolAid.org or 250-414-4799.

Thank you so much for supporting Every Step Counts! We look forward to greeting you at the event.

Transformations Registration

Transformations

On October 1st Adam Kreek, Bruce Courtnall, Jeff King, and Lucy Smith joined us for an inspiring evening to support Every Step Counts, the walking and running program for people facing challenges with poverty, addiction, mental health and social isolation in their lives.

We raised over $4,000 in donations alone – please check back here soon for a final amount raised through donations, admission, shoe sales, and silent auction purchases.

Thank you for attending!

Wednesday, October 1, 6 to 9pm at The Atrium: 800 Yates Street, Victoria B.C.

Tickets: $70

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Thank you for joining us in honouring Dr. Joe Haegert

Dr Joe enjoying a moment of solitude in his kayakThank you for reserving your tickets to Dr. Joe Haegert’s retirement Celebration on November 1st at the Royal B.C. Museum. We are so glad to have you with us as we celebrate Dr. Joe’s achievements and usher him towards a well-deserved and relaxing new phase of life.

You will receive a confirmation email shortly. If you do not receive confirmation within 24 hours, or if you would like more details about this event or Dr. Joe Haegert’s work with Cool Aid, please contact Alan Rycroft at arycroft@CoolAid.org or 250-414-4781.

Thank you for helping us honour the lifetime achievements of Dr. Haegert. We look forward to seeing you there!

Dr. Joe Haegert Celebration – Online Registration

Dr. Joe Haegert Retirement Celebration

P3060007-webWe are sad to see Dr. Joe Haegert retiring from our Community Health Centre – where he has worked for 44 years, starting as the first physician. At the same time, we’re delighted for the excuse to honour his lifetime of service. Please join us in the beautiful First People’s Gallery at the Royal BC Museum on Saturday, November 1.

Dr. Haegert’s practice originally grew out of a need for appropriate and professional medical care for people living in communes, the transient population and travelling students. Like Cool Aid itself, over the years, Dr. Haegert’s patient group evolved due to changes in the economy, an increase in mental illness, a rise in alcohol and substance use and an ageing population.

Today, the Cool Aid Community Health Centre at 713 Johnson Street provides a wide variety of health services to over 4,000 patients, many of whom are homeless. Over the years, other professionals have joined Dr. Joe in this work, including physicians, nurses, counsellors, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, medical office assistants, an acupuncturist, nutritionist and other visiting specialists. We’ve come a long way since those early years!

We would be delighted to have you join us to honour Dr. Joe and share stories of his life and service.

Where: Royal British Columbia Museum – First People’s Gallery
When: Saturday, November 1 @ 6 to 10:00 pm – Dr. Joe speaks at 7
Cost: $100 includes drinks, Truffles Catering and a small tax receipt

Click here to Purchase tickets

The Victoria Cool Aid Society would also like to honour Dr. Joe’s lifetime of achievement by naming a new apartment building after him, which will end homelessness for dozens of Victorians, for generations to come.

All proceeds from this event will help Cool Aid build an apartment building named after Dr. Joe, for people without homes. Cool Aid needs to raise $1 million in total to attract sufficient government funds to build the new Dr. Joe Haegert Apartments. The Cool Aid family (our staff and directors) have already pledged the first $100,000. Another $211,000 has come in from other donations.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 1, when together we will honour Dr. Joe’s lifetime of service. Whether or not you can attend, we hope you will also consider a donation towards the Dr. Joe Haegert Apartments.

2014 Funder and Partner Survey & Annual Report Released

As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency and collaboration, the Victoria Cool Aid Society is pleased to release our Annual Report, audited Financial Statements and Funder and Partner Survey to the public.

Our annual report provides a snapshot of our previous year, including major changes to operations, new initiatives, collaborations, and stories shared by the people we help:

Click here to read our 2014 Annual Report online
Our audited Financial Statements are also available

Our Funder and Partner Survey is a way of checking in with the people and organizations that are an essential part of our mission to end homelessness in Greater Victoria. Here’s what they said about Cool Aid:

Click here to read our 2014 Funder and Partner Survey

 

Thank you for your feedback

Thank you for sharing your comments or concerns with us. Our staff will be in touch with you soon.

Thank you for caring about homelessness,

The Victoria Cool Aid Society

Run or Dye 2014 a huge success!

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Victoria’s first ever Run or Dye was a huge success, thanks to the 4,200 people who came out to participate and the 223 volunteers that made the event happen!

Here are some of the photos we took of the fun – click to see larger images:

“We had such a great time at Victoria’s 1st Run or Dye! Thank you so much to an AMAZING volunteer team that made it happen. <3" From Run or Dye 2014, posted by Every Step Counts on 6/29/2014 (10 items)

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2


Annual General Meeting June 25

Change. Renewal. Opportunity.

You may remember at our last Annual General Meeting our Downtown Community Centre was in need of a change. Over a decade of providing free services to more than 7,000 people each year were beginning to show in the Centre’s interior spaces, and the needs of our community had changed significantly since those spaces were built.

Fortunately for Cool Aid, the Rotary Club of Victoria knows how to keep a good thing going.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For its 100th anniversary the Rotary Club of Victoria generously donated over $100,000 to renew our Community Centre. Last year, our Annual General Meeting was the very last event in the old Community Centre. This year we’d love to show you how beautiful change can be.

 

Frank Elsner 2014Recently, change has brought another opportunity to Victoria. The arrival of Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner means a chance to renew our commitment to working together to end homelessness in our community.

Please join us on Wednesday, June 25th at our renewed Downtown Community Centre for our Annual General Meeting, featuring a conversation with Chief Elsner and our Executive Director, Kathy Stinson.

Thank You!

Thank you so much for helping Every Step Counts this year at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. Your participation will help Every Step Counts stay running all year!

A member of our team will be in touch with you soon.

 

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Meet Gillie, the Coach Who Makes Every Step Count

Gillie with her team

Over 500 people have run, walked, and jogged to a healthier life with Gillie’s help. Now she needs yours.

Fitness makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but Gillie Easdon has inspired hundreds of people to overcome the stigma of homelessness, mental illness and addictions and make positive change in their lives, one step at a time.

It has not been easy. Gillie’s work bridges the gap between health and poverty, but precisely because it fits directly in neither category Every Step Counts has operated for the past 5 years without government funding and consistently faces funding shortfalls.

That’s why we need your help. Every Step Counts needs the support of people like you to ensure Gillie is there for the people who need her.

  • a gift of $56.25 prepares a healthy meal for the whole team
  • a gift of $116.92 provides the space and equipment for one of four weekly runs
  • A gift of $176.38 purchases fitness gear for one of our runners
  • A gift of $469.64 pays the total costs of one session out of 208 each year!

Click the DONATE button above to give online, or call 250-414-4790 to donate by phone.

Not only will your gifts help keep Gillie’s team running, your donations help us prove that Every Step Counts is valued by our community to local businesses, community funders and government agencies.

You can also support Every Step Counts by coming out to events throughout the year. Look for us at the Times Colonist 10K, the Goodlife Fitness Marathon, and Run or Dye this year for more opportunities to donate, volunteer, and cheer on the courageous people who run with us each week.

On behalf of Gillie Easdon, the Every Step Counts team, and all of us here at Cool Aid, thank you for helping us come closer to ending homelessness in our community, one step at a time.

Join Every Step Counts this Sunday for the TC10K

After months of being cooped up indoors while avoiding grey skies and drizzle, it’s time to get outside and welcome a vibrant new season. Join us as we participate in a well-loved, local tradition—the Times Colonist 10K, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on April 27, 2014.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a laid-back walking enthusiast, this is a perfect opportunity to put your feet on the pavement for a terrific cause. You can still register until tomorrow to walk, jog, or run with the Every Step Counts team. And if you prefer not to walk or run, you can still play an important role by volunteering and cheering participants on from the sidelines.

For those facing mental health, addiction, or housing issues, daily challenges can feel like taking one step forward, two steps back. The Every Step Counts program offers the support and encouragement people need to keep putting one foot in front of the other – literally and figuratively.

Come celebrate the newness of spring by walking with us in the Times Colonist 10k on April 27. Together, we’ll take great strides towards better physical, emotional, and mental health—for ourselves and for those in our community!

Prevent Identity Theft and Support Every Step Counts

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Thanks to the biggest turnout ever to the Better Business Bureau‘s shredder fundraiser, you raised over $3,000 to help keep Every Step Counts running and walking for another year! Thank you so very much.

 


As days grow longer and sunnier and fresh breezes herald the newness of spring, our thoughts turn to cleaning and the casting off of clutter. With this in mind, the Better Business Bureau is providing a convenient opportunity to shred your expired, sensitive documents.

Protect your identity and help a worthy cause by participating in “Secure Your ID Day” on Friday April 11 at Tillicum Centre. This secure service is offered for free or by donation, with all proceeds going to Every Step Counts, a fitness program created by Cool Aid and the Victoria Foundation.

As the skies clear, the grass turns a deeper shade of green, and cherry blossoms scatter their delicate petals on the streets of Victoria like so much fragrant confetti, it’s easy to forget that the streets are not always so idyllic for individuals who face identity theft, housing issues, addiction, and mental health challenges.

Every Step Counts lends friendly, non-judgemental support while facilitating fitness activities in a group setting. With the help of volunteers, recruits, and community participants, the group gathers four times each week for stretching, walking, and running for health; the sharing of healthy snacks and a safe, positive community goes even further to foster a sense of belonging, nourishment, and reward.

Visit us at Tillicum Centre on Friday April 11 (in the parking lot outside Old Navy) with up to five boxes or bags of confidential paper documents to shred between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. All individuals and small businesses are welcome. Celebrate spring by decluttering while helping people in need make strides towards wellness—because Every Step Counts!

 

Community Helps Women in Shelter

March 11, 2014 – The Bottle Depot and 107.3 KOOL FM have each held super fundraisers for Sandy Merriman House, Cool Aid’s emergency shelter for women, in the last month, raising thousands of dollars for vulnerable women.

Thanks to huBottle Depot's Charity Donation Binndreds of thoughtful recyclers in the community, $1,916.85 was raised through the “charity donation bins” in front of Bottle Depot’s three locations. During the month of February, Cool Aid supporters dropped off their beverage containers in the charity bins rather than waiting in line for their refund.

“It is so nice to see local businesses doing something to help end homelessness in our community” said Fiona Hyslop, a long-time supporter of Sandy Merriman House.

Every month, Bottle Depot supports a local charity through these blue and yellow bins, which have raised over $82,000 since they started the project in 2010. “These donations mean we can say ‘yes’ to women who come to us in need of winter coats, bus tickets, toiletries, and other necessities throughout the year” said Christine O’Brien, Shelter Coordinator at Sandy Merriman House.

Charities supported over the years by Bottle Depot and their customers include CFAX Santas Anonymous, Cops for Cancer, Cycle for Hope, and many more. “It’s a great project and we feel lucky to be a part of it” said Kelly Gorman, Operations Manager for Bottle Depot. “If it weren’t for the community being behind it, we wouldn’t have $82,000 to give”.

Bins are accessible 24 hours a day outside all three Greater Victoria locations: 655 Queens Avenue, 4261 Glanford Avenue and 3961 Quadra Street. Check out the charity of the month next time you are dropping off your bottles.

KOOL FM sponsored a s107.3 KOOL FM logoold-out comedy show at local club Hecklers Bar & Grill last month and raised $1,833 thanks to a very happy crowd of supporters. The KOOL Comedy Night featured James Ball & His Funniest Friends with all proceeds supporting Sandy Merriman House for women.

Who says raising money for a good cause has to be hard and can’t be fun?!

Thanks so much to these wonderful businesses and all the people pitching in to make life a little better for women in our emergency shelter.

We wonder what will happen next…

 

Avenue Gallery supports art groups at Shelters

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For people experiencing homelessness, opportunities to build positive self-esteem and self-expression are rare. That’s why Cool Aid Shelters include volunteer-run art groups.

This year, those programs receive a huge boost thanks to the generous support of the Avenue Art Gallery, a local business that donated over $900 to the programs this month! This gift will help the program purchase easels, frames, brushes, and replenish its supply of paints and mixed media materials of all kinds!

If you would like to join us in thanking the Avenue Gallery, please visit them on facebook, twitter, or in person at:

The Avenue Art Gallery
2184 Oak Bay Avenue
Victoria, BC.

Hope Roberts, Finance & Administration

Director of Finance & Administration, Hope Roberts has more than 20 years of experience in financial management for the not for profit sector. Hope holds a Certified General Accountant designation. She manages a strong finance/administrative team and prepares a $23.85 million budget for the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Hope brings a balance of extremely strong accounting knowledge coupled with strong systems implementation and effective personal leadership skills. Hope came to Cool Aid in 2011, and has renewed the accounting systems and policies since her arrival.

Hope is extremely adept at presenting financial information in an accessible and holistic way. She works hard to demystify the budgeting and accounting process for managers and volunteers on our Board of Directors. Hope is an avid dog trainer who balances her busy work life enjoying the outdoors and her Retrievers!

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Don McTavish, Residential Services

Don McTavish, Emergency Shelter ServicesDon has worked with the Victoria Cool Aid Society for 17 years, during which time he has been dedicated to the provision of housing and shelter for those most marginalized in our community.

Don is the Director of Residential Services and it was in this role that he was part of the team that envisioned and planned the purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility that offers 84 shelter beds, 23 units of transitional housing (known as the Next Steps program) and two units of family shelter (the only ones in the Capital Region District). He  oversees all of Cool Aid’s shelters and housing programs, leading staff as they work together so that no one forced to sleep on the street or go hungry.

Don works closely with other agencies in this city dedicated to the elimination of homelessness.

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Ed Jones, Information Systems

Ed Jones, Information SystemsEd Jones is Manager of Information Systems at the Victoria Cool Aid Society. A graduate of Royal Roads University with a Microsoft Computer Systems Engineer certificate, Ed has been managing IT systems at Cool Aid since 2001. Ed has developed the IT department at Cool Aid from a two-server system to a network of 11 servers. His department provides technical support and assistance to 280 employees. He is responsible for IT supplies, purchasing, planning and is currently developing an intranet site to improve staff communication and client services. Ed is dedicated to enhancing access to technology for staff as well as clients who use computers in Cool Aid programs.

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Irene Haigh-Gidora, Community Health Services

Irene Haigh-Gidora on the streetIrene Haigh-Gidora is the Manager of Community Health Services for the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Irene has worked for over 30 years with the homeless and marginalized population in community health settings in Winnipeg and Victoria.

Irene developed and continues to manage the Cool Aid Community Health Centre comprised of a Medical Clinic and Dental Clinic employing 37 multidisciplinary staff, including seven doctors, advanced practice nurses, pharmacist, dentist, dental hygienist and alcohol and drug counsellors who provide assessment, treatment, counselling and referrals to the downtown street population. She also manages Cool Aid’s REES program (Resources, Education, Employment & Support) which partners with mental health consumers to provide services to aid clients in managing their mental illness.

Irene is a seasoned leader who effectively manages a multi-disciplinary team of professionals in a very dynamic environment. She brings grace, compassion and caring to her work and is well respected by clients, staff and volunteers.

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Melanie Fleming, Director of Human & Strategic Resources

Melanie Clarke, Human Resources & DevelopmentMelanie Fleming joined Cool Aid in 2000, with many years of administrative and change management experience in corporate leadership roles. Melanie is responsible for human resources, strategic planning and community relations.

As a long-standing member of the British Columbia Human Resource Management Association, Melanie is committed to cultivating positive relationships and high standards of professionalism and service delivery at all levels of the organization. During her time, Cool Aid’s employee pool has flourished from a small, dedicated team into a diverse group that spans a wide variety of professions, service models and buildings in the Capital Region.

Proud to be part of such a strong team, Melanie remains committed to improving services and supporting her colleagues by cultivating strategic vision, accountability and life-long professional development. In 2013, Melanie successfully completed the Strategic Management Certificate Program through Certified Management Accountants (CMA) of British Columbia.

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Kathy Stinson, CEO

Kathy Stinson, Executive DirectorKathy Stinson is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) and has been providing leadership in the not-for-profit and public sectors for over 25 years. Kathy is well respected in Greater Victoria through her work with Boys and Girls Club Services, where she was Finance and Operations Leader until 2003. After a brief but rewarding stint with the Government of Nunavut, Kathy returned to BC’s Capital to work for the Victoria Cool Aid Society and has been their CEO/Executive Director since mid-2005.

A lifelong learner, Kathy earned a graduate certificate in project management from Royal Roads in 2001, and is currently pursuing a diploma in Urban Land Economics through UBC. Kathy is also participating in the CIH Canada Western Founders program, and is excited to be working towards achieving the CIHM designation.

Kathy served two terms on the board of the BC Non Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) from 2009 to 2014, including two years as Chair. Kathy also served on the board of Leadership Victoria where she held the position of Treasurer for five years.

Kathy’s work has helped to build the capacity of Greater Victoria to identify and confront some of its key challenges. Whether leading initiatives like the creation of the Access Health Centre or working collaboratively with community groups like the Downtown Service Providers, or the Coalition to End Homelessness, Kathy has a talent and passion for bringing people together, helping the community create a better future.

In 2012, Kathy was honoured at the Victoria Leadership Awards with the inaugural United Way of Greater Victoria award for Collaboration and Partnership; and in 2013 Cool Aid received the Victoria Foundation Community Leadership Award.

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Arleen Pare, Director

Arleen Paré, DirectorWriter / Retired Social Worker

Arleen Paré is a Victoria poet and novelist with a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria. She has a Masters of Social Work from McGill University and a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia in Adult Education.

Arleen worked for two decades in Vancouver Community Mental Health Services and Programs, ultimately serving as Director of Mental Health Housing for Vancouver Coastal Health.

She moved to Victoria in 2003, and became a writer. Her first book, Paper Trail, was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Award for Poetry and won the Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2008. Her novel, Leaving Now, was released in 2012. Her third book, a collection of poetry called Lake of Two Mountains, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in 2014. He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car was released in 2015 and The Girls with Stone Faces will be released in 2017.

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