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This article was published 29/8/2018 (1120 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With the snip of a ribbon, the Western Manitoba Seniors Non-Profit Housing Co-op officially unveiled its second seniors housing complex on Tuesday.
A large group of seniors, dignitaries and supporters gathered for the special event at 2105 Brandon Ave.
"Today is a very big day," said Winnipeg Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson, on behalf of federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. "With this project, 63 much-needed units of safe, affordable housing is now available to seniors in this community."
The $14-million project features 48 affordable housing suites and 15 at market rates. More than $3.1 million was provided by the federal and provincial governments. The City of Brandon provided the property, valued at $920,000, at no cost, in addition to other support totalling more than $600,000. Member share contributions, the building’s mortgage and various grants/loans covered the remainder of costs.
"With financial support from the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba, these seniors are able to age in place and continue to enjoy the fellowship of close family and friends, which is crucial to remaining healthy and active," Eyolfson said.
Manitoba Families Minister Heather Stefanson said access to safe, affordable housing is a priority for the province, and was honoured to be part of the celebration.
"We know this project will improve the lives of seniors (and) their families in Brandon, and our government is proud to be a part of it here with all of you today," she said. "To all the tenants … it is my pleasure to officially say, ‘welcome home.’"
Brandon Deputy Mayor Jeff Fawcett praised the seniors co-op for their hard work during the past several years to bring this project to fruition.
"This is sort of a ‘get things done crowd,’ and as a city we’re very proud of the work that everybody’s done, on this project and the last one," he said. The group’s first housing project opened in 2013 at 620 McDiarmid Dr.
Harvey Douglas, president of the co-op expansion committee, said countless volunteer hours went into making the dream a reality.
"There’s now 63 more seniors who have a chance to live collectively together in an environment that’s safe, secure … and affordable," he said.
Sixty-two suites are already occupied, with the final suite already spoken for.
Eveline Boulet and her husband downsized from their home on Richmond Avenue, and moved in during the month of May.
"It’s been wonderful from day one," she said. "I really liked the house on Richmond but it was getting too big, just getting too much work for me to do."
Anna Enns also moved in last May, after downsizing from a mobile home in Brandon. One of the main draws was the fact that the new complex is pet-friendly, so her cat was able to come with her.
Dennis and Louise Hume were one of the first couples to move in. They had been on waiting lists at other seniors complexes for years, and were thrilled when they got into 2105 Brandon Avenue.
"We just wanted to get a chance to go into a new building, and there is great security here," Dennis said. "We lived in apartment buildings, where people forgot to shut the door at night…That doesn’t happen here."
As Dennis uses a wheelchair, the Humes were also in search of a place that was more accessible. Another major draw are the activities available at the new complex. There are common rooms where celebrations can be held, exercise machines and a place for art projects. There is also an outdoor sitting area, and a shared garden.
As co-op board member Janette Brown described, "It’s unbelievable. A dream come true."
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