On February 25, people will take to the streets of downtown Nelson to increase awareness about homelessness in the community and raise funds to help continue renovations at Ward Street Place. There are two, five and 10 kilometre walks which give participants the opportunity to experience a few hours outside in the cold, a hint of what it might be like to be homeless.
Nelson CARES operates Ward Street Place, a unique commercial and residential building with 45 single-occupancy rooms and three apartments. Maintaining it as affordable housing includes making improvements to the 103-year-old building. Lisa Mcgeady, campaign coordinator says the Room to Live campaign includes a total redevelopment of $2.9 million and $90,000 still needs to be raised.
“We need to preserve this stock of safe and affordable housing for another half century,” she says.
“Nelson is facing a housing crisis and those most vulnerable are hit the hardest,” says Lesnik. “This initiative alleviates some of that pressure. To think of having no home is a scary thought.”
The students are engaged in a conversation with the community about the housing crisis and are eager to break down myths about homelessness.
“Social awareness is significant,” says Schultz. “People need to understand that homeless people aren’t lazy and just not helping themselves. There are often underlying factors like mental health, disability or trauma.”
Mcgeady welcomes the support provided by nursing students. This is the third year that Selkirk College Nursing Program students have been part of the cooperative fundraising effort as they complete their community practice component.
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