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Dress for Success Halifax seeks help from the community on search for new home

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We chat with Dress for Success Halifax executive director Brenda Saunders-Todd about how COVID-19 has impacted operations and their search for a new home – Jun 12, 2020

Once a week, Global News will feature our local community partners to highlight how they are handling day-to-day operations during the coronavirus pandemic and how you can help.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and organizations have had to adapt and pivot.

Non-profit Dress for Success is no exception.

But as they go back to helping women in the community, Dress for Success is being forced to find a new home.

The property owner has given them notice to vacate their offices on Gottingen Street by the end of June to make way for new apartments. It’s a situation the staff expected but hoped would be held-off since the pandemic hit mid-March. Now, staff has less than a month to find a new home to continue their work in the community.

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“We’re down to two weeks before we need to be out of our space and we don’t have a home,” says Brenda Saunders-Todd, executive director for Dress for Success Halifax. “We wouldn’t be moving if it weren’t for the fact that the building is coming down.”

Saunders-Todd understands that selling the lot is a logical step for the property owners but now the struggle for Dress for Success is to find a new home that can offer rent for as low as they are charged at 2016 Gottingen Street: $1,500 a month.

Saunders-Todd says the new space must be ground level for accessibility, on a bus line and include a retail space, and is asking the community for help finding the ideal location.

“We are looking for anything from a thousand to 1,500 square feet,” Saunders-Todd says. “So if there’s anybody that might be able to assist us in the process, we would hugely appreciate hearing from anybody.”

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For now, the organization is operating out of The Social Boutique, a women’s clothing store in Bedford Place Mall that sells used and new clothing with all proceeds going directly to Dress for Success.

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As Saunders-Todd points out, that retail space is already jammed since moving product there in December. “It is certainly something we could do temporarily,” she says. “But… we have all of the space occupied with clothing racks and clothing right now so it would make it very challenging to move Dress for Success into that space.”

The Social Boutique is now open to the public with limited hours of operation. Retail space for the shop was donated by the Bedford Place Mall and, according to the boutique’s Facebook page, has a team of 25 volunteers.

To learn more about Dress for Success and to contact them regarding space available, visit their website.

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