Construction underway for Carmichael Outreach’s ‘forever home’

Construction underway for Carmichael Outreach’s ‘forever home’
Carmichael Outreach ’s new community centre on 12th Avenue is now under construction and expected to improve every aspect of the organization’s operations.

“We’re really, really excited. This has been a long time coming,” said Rochelle Berenyi, communications advocacy and projects officer for Carmichael Outreach.

“We purchased this building about two years ago and there have been so many delays, but we’re so excited that we’ve actually begun construction on the building and we’re expecting to move in by the end of September.”

The non-profit provides free services to those in Regina experiencing homelessness , and the organization itself has been experiencing somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle.

“We’ve had a lot of interesting homes over the last couple years so everyone at Carmichael is excited to get into our forever home,” Berenyi said.

Now in the basement of the YWCA, Carmichael Outreach has also spent time working out of locations on Osler Street and 11th Avenue. It had plans to be moved into its permanent location at the start of 2018, but a lack of funding meant that date got pushed back.

“Our old building was very run down, it was too small, and everyone was bumping into each other,” Berenyi said. “The space just wasn’t safe and it wasn’t accessible for everyone.”

Now, though, optimism is at a new high for the new set location on 12th Avenue.

“The new space is much larger, that’s going to be one big plus — we’re going to be able to do a lot more,” explained Berenyi.

After construction, it will be “completely handicap and wheelchair accessible” and will feature an elevator and wheelchair lift.

Another benefit of the new, bigger space is its commercial kitchen, allowing them to serve meals indoors and do cooking classes.

There will also be a nurse’s office, needle exchange, laundry area and shower service, according to Berenyi.

The group is ready to begin helping Regina’s most vulnerable in a bigger way, but they’re still working to pay for the centre in full.

The cost of the new building is about $1 million and so far they’ve raised $350,000.

“While we’re excited that all of this is getting developed and we’re going to be able to move in soon, we are still looking to raise funds to support the project,” Berenyi said.

The organization has a construction mortgage that allows it to continue with development but it is still looking for partners and sponsors to fund the project’s completion.

“We’re not going to be able to do that all on our own,” Berenyi said.

“Even if it’s five bucks, 10 bucks here or there to make a difference, or if anyone is interested in becoming a major partner or sponsor on the project, we’re ready for that as well.”

When it comes to rumours that Carmichael Construction may be in danger of closing its doors, Berenyi said that’s simply not true.

“I want to make sure everyone knows that’s not the case,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere.”

“We’re still in the basement of the YWCA for now, but we’re going to be getting into this new space very soon here and we’re very excited.”
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