Ottawa
1 min

Increasing care

Federal grant funds Bruce House expansion

CAUTIOUS EXPANSION. Bruce House could use double its current space, but executive director Jay Koornstra says the reality is the group wouldn't be able to afford the additional operating costs. Credit: Rob Thomas

Expansion and revitalization plans are underway at Bruce House’s care and support home for people living with AIDS, thanks to a $448,000 federal grant.



“With this grant – and if we can maintain our fundraising levels – we’ll be able to serve more peopleĀ… that’s the bottom line,” says Bruce House executive director Jay Koornstra. “Because we can currently only accommodate five at a time in our 24-hour care and support home.”



Renovations will increase living space by 30 percent and increase capacity from five beds to seven.



“The need and reality is that we need more than double the space that we currently have,” says Koornstra. “However, we did this very realistically and said that we could not support a 24-hour care and support home above and beyond the addition of two or three more rooms because of the operating costs.



“We took the cautious approach and said adding two to three beds extra is better than adding five beds extra that we could not [afford to] service,” he says.



The grant announced Aug 17 comes from the federal government’s National Homeless Initiative, under the city-administered and managed Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative.



Bruce House’s work began almost immediately – finalizing the design with architects and planning for necessary building permits and zoning changes.



“We believe the final architects’ renderings will be ready early spring and we’ll break the ground in early spring,” says Koornstra.



Construction and renovations are expected to be complete by the end of 2005.



One of the grant requirements is that Bruce House raise $75,000 towards the cost of the project. A capital fundraising campaign will be launched, likely in the fall.



“The entire project is going to cost $518,000 to $525,000,” says Koornstra. “Part of our arrangement with this particular funding body is that we would invest some of our community money as well.”



But Koornstra says Bruce House is careful not to confuse the capital campaign with the other needs of the organization, which gets 40 percent of its annual revenue from fundraising.



“One of the things that we are cognizant of is trying to raise that separate $70,000 or $75,000 and not detract from the really needed $200,000-plus that we get from the community,” says Koornstra.