Fife House

Fife House

November 25, 2006 09:30 ET

Fife House Joins Partners for Official Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Wellesley Central Residences

First supportive housing for People Living with HIV/AIDS funded in Toronto in a Decade;Ability to house families for first time a major breakthrough

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 25, 2006) - Today marks an important milestone for Fife House, Toronto's leading provider of secure and affordable housing and support services for persons living with HIV/AIDS, with the official groundbreaking today for the Wellesley Central Residences, the first new housing funded for people living with HIV/AIDS in the city in the last ten years.

Located on Sherbourne Street on the former site of the Wellesley Central Hospital, the 112 unit apartment complex is a partnership between WoodGreen Community Services and Wellesley Institute, financed with the support of all three levels of government. It is scheduled for completion in March 2008.

Supportive Housing for Families an Important Step Forward

The Wellesley Central Residences is a unique, first-of-its-kind building that will set new standards for supportive housing, and for Fife House, allow the organization to expand programs and serve new clients to help meet the changing demographics of HIV/AIDS and the crucial need for affordable housing. This includes the ability to offer housing to couples and families for the first time through two bedroom units in the building, a major step forward in supportive housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Another of the 'firsts' is that the 112 units will be shared equally between people living with HIV/AIDS and senior citizens, through an integrated living concept that will make the Wellesley Central Residences unique in the world, creating a neighbourhood model that ensures people living with HIV/AIDS aren't isolated from others.

Enhancing Health and Well-Being

A key priority for Fife House is ensuring that the building will be equipped and furnished with important health-related features and amenities required by people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as features designed to enhance quality of life for all residents. This will be done through enhancements not included in the government-provided financing and will be funded through a major Capital Campaign that Fife House will launch in early 2007.

The enhancements include space saving closet organizers; full wheel chair accessibility in a number of units; a cluster of eleven fully furnished bachelor units with a communal kitchen and living room, and laundry facilities for people living with HIV/AIDS who are transitioning from the streets or the shelter system to stable housing; a fully equipped and furnished community kitchen, lounge, craft room and children's play room to be used by Fife House and WoodGreen residents for community meals, skills building, recreation and social gatherings; roof top healing garden; and a wellness clinic.

The building will also include programming offices for the Homeless Outreach Program, and for program volunteers and support programs, providing much needed space and the ability to continue to expand these programs. An endowment fund will be included within the Capital Campaign budget to ensure the continued up keep of the building's enhancements.

Housing a Key Determinant of Health

The scope of the Wellesley Central Residences, the services it will provide and the cross-section of residents, showcases Fife House's continued successful growth and track record of excellence since it opened its first residence, Denison, in 1990. While the home had room for only five people, it was the genesis of a housing network and a comprehensive program of much needed support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

"The one constant throughout Fife House's evolution has been the recognition of the connection between secure housing and the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS," says Ruthann Tucker, Executive Director, Fife House. "The belief that housing is key determinant of health is one of our core values, as important an issue as access to treatment - particularly because in many cases that treatment will be withheld if the person does not have stable housing."

Changing to Meet the Changing Face of HIV/AIDS

Now the largest provider of secure and supportive housing for persons living with HIV/AIDS, Fife House has three supportive housing facilities and an 82-unit apartment building. One of the facilities is exclusively for women, the only such supportive housing facility in North America. Fife House also operates a Homeless Outreach Program, which since its inception in 2000 has grown to be the organization's largest program.

"AIDS is increasingly becoming an issue of poverty, and housing and shelter needs are exploding," says Ms. Tucker. "This is particularly true for women, children and families, the Aboriginal community and long term survivors of HIV. This is why we view our ability to offer housing to couples and families for the first time as a major step forward for Fife House, ensuring that we are better able to meet the needs of all our clients."

About Fife House

Fife House, founded in 1988 in memory of Toronto lawyer George Fife, is an innovative, client-focused provider of secure and supportive affordable housing and services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the Greater Toronto Area. It is recognized as a North American leader in its delivery of services, which are focused on enhancing quality of life, building on individual strengths and promoting independence - recognizing that access to secure and affordable housing is a key determinant for the health and well-being of people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2005, Fife House housed over 330 clients.

Ruthann Tucker is available for interviews.

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