REES Employment & Mental Health Services Temporarily Disrupted
News Release – June 24, 2011 – Concern over potential structural damage in the leased office of Cool Aid’s REES Program led staff and a volunteer to quickly evacuate the premises yesterday at approximately 2 pm. Within minutes large portions of the ceiling collapsed at 707 Johnson Street – the building right next store to the Access Health Centre. No one was hurt.
Staff are doing their best to support clients off site during this transitional period. It is hoped that temporary space will be secured in early July. Clients and service providers may call Cool Aid administration at 250-383-1977 for program and temporary contact information.
The REES Program is appealing to the community for a temporary storefront location of approximately 2,000 square feet downtown to re-locate all of their services. Any property owners, management firms or government offices in a position to help are asked to call Alan Rycroft at the Victoria Cool Aid Society at 250-414-4781. Space, computers and office equipment have been lost and need to be replaced. Cash donations are also needed and may be made online during the postal dispute at www.CoolAid.org/donate, by phone or in person.
The REES Program (www.CoolAid.org/rees) is home to a variety of essential services designed to support people in our community who are experiencing challenges with mental health and addictions – to help them in recovery and to build a better quality of life. One hundred to 200 people are helped every weekday. Services include:
- Community Casual Labour Pool – a free service that connects workers with employers and also with home owners needing help around the home or in the garden. (www.CoolAid.org/labour)
- Every Step Counts running and walking program. (www.CoolAid.org/esc)
- Mentoring Program – connecting trained volunteers, for one-year placements, with people in the community who need some friendship and advice.
- Outreach Support and Peer Links – helping people find employment, housing, income support, health services and a variety of other services.
- Resource Centre – offering free computer and internet access, phones, photocopier, fax, information resources and other office support to locate housing and jobs and stay in touch with family and friends. (Note: free computer and internet access is also available one block over at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora, www.CoolAid.org/dcc.)
- The Online Resource Guide remains available at www.CoolAid.org/guide – a searchable database of local resources for people needing help.
Scene after the ceiling collapsed at Cool Aid’s REES Program on Thursday, June 23 (leased premises).
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Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services