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

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

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

Pledges and donations received this month include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kathy Stinson
Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island