Last year's Room to Live benefit concert was a huge success.

Second annual Room to Live concert coming to Capitol

The Room to Live campaign has raised $375,000 of their $690,000 goal so far, upcoming Nov. 20 concert will feature six Kootenay divas.

Nelson CARES’ Jenny Robinson was helping a tenant move into her new unit in Ward St. Place —the downstairs shelter has now been converted into seven brand new apartments — and was surprised when she was met with tears.

“This woman, when she saw her own private bathroom, she started crying. She said to me ‘I’ve never had my own bathroom before’,” Robinson told the Star, in sharing the impetus behind next Friday’s fundraiser concert for the Room to Live campaign at the Capitol Theatre.

“It’s really important that people who live in poverty are treated with dignity. I look at the system a different way, and our systems aren’t fair to people. The work of Nelson CARES is to level that playing field as much as we can.”

Six Kootenay divas will be featured at the concert, which sold out last year, and local musician Clinton Swanson will bring his six-piece band. The audience can appreciate the vocal stylings of Nelson cultural amabassador Bessie Wapp as well as Sydney Black, Laura Landsberg, Melody Diachun, Bo Conlan and Aryn Sherrif. Robinson promised it will be an energetic night with something for everyone.

Nelson residents will also get the opportunity to hear testimonials from residents such as Tom, who spoke to the crowd last year and shared his experience of poverty.

“In his own words, Tom came to Ward St. Place sick and broke. Through his residency with us he regained his health. Sometimes you just need a hand up. He’s now completely rebuilt his life, which is a great story for us and a better story for him.”

Tom now has a full-time job and is a participating member of society.

“Without us Tom, and people like Tom, would likely end up in the hospital system, and that costs the system an incredible amount of money.”

Robinson said most people don’t realize that it’s significantly cheaper to house the homeless than to pay for the services they need without a home.

“If you don’t have a house, you don’t have anything,” she said. “An acute care bed at the hospital is $1,500 a night. A month’s rent at Ward St. Place is about $400. Do the math. If you have someone that’s ill with a mental health disorder plus physical illness, over the course of their adult lifetime they’re going to cost the system millions of dollars.”

She’s grateful to live in a community that cares about the most disadvantaged among us. And the results are becoming tangible: they’re currently in the midst of renovating the rooms.

“It’s been a slow process, but we’ve done about 10 rooms moving slowly through the building. They’ve got new flooring, new kitchens, new drywall. The rooms are completely refreshed and they look great.”

New weather-proof windows are also in the process of being installed.

“This is what we call the livability and energy efficiency phase of our campaign,” said Robinson.

The building’s former property manager, Deb Kozak, will speak to the community during the concert, along with Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall and Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski.

“Deb’s stayed in contact with me over the years about it. She’s excited and happy about what we’re doing for the building, and this is a chance for us to celebrate the community’s contribution.”

Robinson thanked Nelsonites for their contributions, saying the rooms will have a huge impact on their occupants’ lives.

“Even if it’s small and modest, it’s still a clean and safe place to live.”

The concert on Nov. 20 begins at 7:30 p.m.

 

Just Posted

Nelson Women’s March joins others across globe

The event was held to promote equality and an end to violence against women

Born 1 pound, 11 ounces, Winlaw premature baby comes home

Indra Greaves was born at the Nelson hospital after just 24 weeks of gestation

Leafs stretch winning streak to 8 games

Nelson downed Grand Forks 5-2 on Friday

RDCK moves ahead with Castlegar rec complex upgrade plan

Board approves grant application for $13 million from provincial, federal governments

Cottonwood Lake preservation group surpasses $50,000 fundraising goal

In 28 days, 393 donors have contributed to the fund

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read