Building Hope in Orillia for those who need it most
Hope is on the horizon as construction gets underway for Orillia's most vulnerable.
It has taken seven years of fundraising and design changes, but crews are finally pouring the foundation for the new Lighthouse Community Services hub.
"Originally, we wanted to build one building, and the province released some funding for supportive housing before we had the shelter money, so we had to split them into two facilities," explained Michael Unwin, Building Hope Design Chair.
Once completed, the hub will replace the current shelter and include 20 supportive housing units, 40 emergency shelter beds, five mental health beds, a soup kitchen and counselling and supportive services.
It will also become a shelter for men, women and children with no where to go in Orillia. The current emergency shelter is a men-only facility, supporting about 200 men every year.
The Lighthouse has secured more than $11 million through donations and support from all levels of government, but with rising construction costs they need to raise another $2.6 million.
The goal, officials say, is to open the doors to the new shelter mortgage free, allowing any incoming funds to be put towards operational programming and client needs.
"We're confident at the pace it's been coming in, we'll achieve that," Unwin said.
There are a number of Building Hope fundraising campaigns going on aimed at reaching that goal.
It's anticipated the $14.5 million project will open in the spring of 2021.