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SCCSS seeks $1 million from Sechelt for Building Together project

The community project aims to offer housing to vulnerable women and children
A rendered imagine of the Building Together project, set to provide 35 units of affordable housing to women and women with children who have experienced violence or are at risk of experiencing violence.

The District of Sechelt is considering committing $1 million to Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS)’s Building Together project.

On May 15, SCCSS representatives provided council with a project update and asked for funding to close its budgetary gap. 

The project features 35 units of affordable housing for women and women with children who have experienced violence or are at risk of violence, including youth aging out of care and seniors. Also included is programming space for SCCSS.

The project budget is $34 million, of which 90 per cent has been secured, council heard. Secured funding has come from provincial and federal grants, as well as SCCSS and its fundraising efforts. 

SCCSS hopes to cover much of the remaining gap through its 50 women capital campaign and a grant from Sechelt.

Community services’ ask to council was that Sechelt provide the project $1 million through the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) Legacy Fund.

Andy Jones-Cox, a director of SCCSS, explained that the community forest is a not-for-profit wholly owned by the District of Sechelt. In years where SCCF makes a profit, it issues a dividend of roughly 50 per cent to the district while retaining the other half.

Sechelt and SCCF each have their own SCCF Legacy Fund (the funds share a name but are distinct), which is where the profit is kept and used for special projects that have the potential to offer lasting benefits to the community, Jones-Cox said.  

Coun. Darren Inkster said Building Together is an example of the type of project he had in mind back in 2015 when he pushed to have a piece of the Legacy Fund come to the district. 

Inkster asked where SCCSS will operate while the building is being constructed.

Catherine Leach, SCCSS executive director, answered that they have just secured a lease of the building next to Batch 44 Brewery and will operate from there. 

Inkster motioned that staff bring back a report as soon as possible outlining the building plan and how the district can help, including the request, which passed unanimously.

Coun. Alton Toth then motioned to refer the SCCSS request and presentation to SCCF for feedback, which passed unanimously. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.