Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The province is investing $1.1 million into a proposed ‘community hub’ in Oshawa which would see a number of local organizations pooling resources.
The community hub, to be known as Hope Centre of Durham Region, will be located at 707 Simcoe Street South in Oshawa, which currently houses L’Amicale Centre Communautaire Francophone.
Catholic Family Services of Durham, the lead organization behind the new centre, finalized the purchase of the building at the end of May, says executive director Elizabeth Pierce.
“We’ve been working for seven years to create a hub here in Durham Region,” Pierce says.
Pierce says renovations to the building will be extensive, but she is hopeful the $1.1 million funding will cover the entire costs.
“We will also be raising some money to offset the purchase costs,” Pierce says.
The building is expected to open in June 2018.
Pierce estimated the new facility is approximately 14,000 square feet, roughly double the size of their current rented space.
“That will allow more than one organization to be under one roof and our vision is to share key spaces. So, for example, there will be one set of washrooms, one staff area, one waiting area [and] one reception area, so we will not all be paying to rent space,” Pierce says. “By doing so…we can redirect money that used to be spent on leasing space into front line service delivery. So it is our way of creatively finding ways to do more with the money we have.”
Rose of Durham Young Parent Support Services and DRIVEN (a collection of like-minded agencies who offer services to women who have experienced abuse and violence) will be setting up shop at the Hope Centre as well, and Pierce says communication is ongoing with a ‘number of other potential partners’.
The funding was recently announced jointly by Durham MPP Granville Anderson, Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson and Pickering-Scarborough East MPP Tracy MacCharles on behalf of Minister of Community and Social Services Helena Jaczek at the Catholic Family Services of Durham Centre in Oshawa.
Anderson says Hope Centre of Durham Region is just the type of ‘community hub’ the provincial government has been championing.
“The Ministry of Community and Social Services is working diligently to find community-based solutions to improve the lives of people who rely on these services,” Anderson says. “Victims of domestic violence require a range of specialized services, including identifying risk and developing a safety plan, counselling, court support, child welfare, multicultural services, shelters, Legal Aid and access to sexual assault, sexual health and rape crisis centres.”
Anderson says creating a “one-stop shop” for these type of services creates convenience for people who require them.