O'Leary group aims to raise $500K in 5 months for community care home

·2 min read

A co-op group on P.E.I. has set an aggressive goal: raise $500,000 in just five months.

"Very ambitious. Yes," said Sally Lockhart, chair of the Community Seniors Co-Operative.

The group wants to build a new non-profit community care home in O'Leary, something Lockhart said is desperately needed.

"This is like our piece of the pie," she said. "So our down payment."

'Stay near family'

All in all, Lockhart estimated the entire project will cost between $6 million and $8 million. The town has chipped in $275,000 for the project. The rest, Lockhard said, should come from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

"The more we can raise, the less we have to borrow, the more sustainable we'll be. The more affordable we'll be."

Travis Kingdon/CBC News
Travis Kingdon/CBC News

According to Lockhart, the group had done a survey in the community to see how many people would stay in the area if they didn't get the housing they needed. Of the 110 responses, more than half said they would move away without proper housing.

"We want to retain our seniors," she said.

"People want to age in place. They want to stay near family and friends."

Support from town

The plan is for the facility to be net-zero (produce as much energy as it uses), stand three stories and include 50 rooms. It would also focus on ensuring rooms are affordable.

"The town is 100 per cent supportive of this project," said Eric Gavin, the mayor of O'Leary.

It's agonizing for families not to be able to give that support in their own community. — Sally Lockhart, Community Seniors Co-Operative

Gavin said the care home will not only keep seniors in the community but will keep their money in the community too.

And, it will provide jobs.

"Small communities like this here, like … Alberton and Tignish and ourselves, need jobs," he said.

"Everything helps, right?"

'It's going to happen'

It's been over five years now since the idea first surfaced but Gavin said he's confident the project will come to fruition.

Travis Kingdon/CBC News
Travis Kingdon/CBC News

"I obviously think it's going to happen. You know, it's been a while but it's going to happen," he said.

"Let's get 'er going."

As for Lockhart, she said having a community care home is not only crucial for seniors who are faced with leaving the community they call home, but also an important factor for the families who have to watch their loved ones leave.

"Many of us have family members that are away," said Lockhart. "It's agonizing for families not to be able to give that support in their own community.

"So that's the importance of this."

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