It’s no secret that Nelson is suffering from a long-term affordable housing quagmire. It’s an issue that has received plentiful media coverage over the past few months, and has become a major focus in the upcoming municipal election. But before you cast your vote, you’ll be given an opportunity to make a difference by attending the Room to Live concert at the Capitol Theatre, which will benefit the residents of 100-year-old Ward Street Place, on Friday, November 14.
“Affordable housing means to me, because I’m a senior, it means that I only have to spend a portion of my income,” said Sam, one of the residents quoted in the campaign video posted on Nelson CARES’ Society’s website. At the recent campaign launch, he shared his personal story.
“I thank God I found this place. It’s a safe haven,” he said.
The residents of Ward Street Place, many of whom have recently escaped homelessness, quite literally have nowhere else to go, as the city of Nelson has an extreme dearth of affordable housing units. Resident Ann, who is also an elderly tenant, said Ward Street Place is essential to her well-being.
“It gives me security, it gives me dignity, it allows me to continue my love of a home life,” she said.
Nelson CARES aims to raise $2.9 million total, $2.2 of which has already been gathered through donations and grants over the past few years.
The Friday benefit concert will feature local performer Lucas Myers as the master of ceremonies, while Bo Conlan, Aryn Sheriff, Bessie Wapp, Sydney Black, Laura Landsberg, Melody Diachun and Clinton Swanson’s six-piece band add musical accompaniment.
The Nelson and District Credit Union was recently announced as the first corporate sponsor of the project, with a donation of $30,000 over three years. The Regional District of Central Kootenay has committed $56,500. With Nelson’s $15,000 contribution, the project recently became $101,500 closer to its goal.
“This is the first time for Nelson CARES to have a fundraiser this substantial and it took almost three years to get here,” said executive director Jenny Robinson at the recent campaign launch. “The goal is to provide a clean and dignified space to live.”
The money raised will be used to refurbish each room, the common living spaces, install energy efficient windows and doors and fund a long-term maintenance reserve. This stage of funding preserves 45 rooms for 50 years at $15,000 per room.
Tickets for the show are $25 at the door or $20 in advance from the Capitol Theatre or Electric Circus. Nelson CARES has also started an online fundraising auction where residents can bid on items from local artists and merchant. The auction will close during the event.