A Hope Mission fundraising campaign has already garnered more than $6 million to rebuild the old Herb Jamieson Centre in Edmonton’s inner city.
“The Herb Jamieson Centre needs to be rebuilt and we need to be a city that cares for people in need,” said Joel Nikkel, the director of development for Hope Mission.
“We’re a winter city so we’re always going to need an emergency shelter, a place for people to come in out of the cold.”
Last summer, the city’s subdivision and development appeal board sided with the Hope Mission — and against local businesses — by agreeing to a proposed redevelopment the Herb Jamieson Centre into a new homeless shelter for 400 individuals.
The plan is to tear down the old building, that dates back to 1954, and replace it with a modern facility that will handle the current number of men who need shelter.
WATCH: Appeal board turns down businesses fighting inner-city shelter plan
It currently has capacity for 330 men each night, Nikkel said.
“It’s an old building, it’s an unsafe building, it’s not wheelchair accessible. It needs to be rebuilt.
“So at Hope Mission we’ve developed a plan to rebuild the Herb Jamieson Centre and we took that plan out to the community to raise support and we’ve seen tremendous support.
“We’ve raised over $6 million to date, over 2,800 people have given a gift to the project and we’ve had a tremendous inflow of positive comments from all Edmontonians in support of rebuilding.”
The total cost of the project is an estimated $16 million. Hope Mission has a fundraising goal of $8 million and is asking the province to match that with another $8 million.
“We need to hear from the province,” Nikkel said. “We feel like it is really important that the Herb Jamieson Centre be rebuilt.
“There’s no shelter system in Edmonton; there’s one main shelter – it’s the Herb Jamieson Centre.”
He said the group has “been in dialogue” with the Alberta government throughout the planning process.
“We would start as soon as we heard from them. We have a development permit and we’re ready to go.”
WATCH: In Nov. 2016, Hope Mission opened 150 day beds as part of a six-month pilot project. Vinesh Pratap reports.