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Sunrise House granted fundraising extension for new build

The Grande Prairie Youth Emergency Shelter Society has been handed an extension to its capital fundraising deadline, as the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed its fundraising efforts to a crawl. Earlier this year, the city approved a total investment of $500,000 into the development of a new youth emergency shelter with the requirement of having raised a minimum of 75 per cent by the end of 2020.

Executive Director Tanya Wald says the need for a building to complement Sunrise House hasn’t subsided, but the timeline in which they thought they could get those funds together through a capital campaign, is simply too tight.

“This year only really amplified our need for a new building,” she says. “We had to decrease bed numbers for spacing requirements, which means we are running full… we had to change up a lot of our programming.”

Currently, at about 60 per cent of the needed $5 million, Wald says they are still waiting on confirmation of funding from regional municipalities, including the Municipal District of Greenview, which would see them get closer to that number. She adds the COVID-19 pandemic has presented additional stress to the organization, including its programming models.

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“Our space is very small in here, so when we think about doing socially distanced groups or programs, it’s nearly impossible for us to do.”

She says despite the limitations at Sunrise House, Wald says every child that has come to the door has been helped one way or another, with the family support unit working double time to maintain as many of the youth at home as possible. Wald adds they are also looking to apply to the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative, which has allocated nearly half a billion dollars for organizations across Canada for builds like theirs.

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