As far as donations go, this one is large and heavy.
Developer Gene Dub has donated an entire four-storey building to give homes to some of the estimated 100 pregnant woman who find themselves homeless in Edmonton each year.
He heard about the need on a radio show, then thought about what he could do.
“I just happened to have a building,” said the local developer, speaking Thursday after his gift was celebrated at the 2018 housing awards.
Dub specializes in rehabilitating historic buildings. This one, the old Grand Manor Hotel, was built in 1913 near 98 Street and 108 Avenue. He bought it eight years ago, renovating it and continuing to rent it as low-income housing. The 18 studios and one-bedroom units were renting for about $500.
It’s a gift worth $3 million.
Capital Region Housing had been looking at buying the building last summer, said Greg Dewling, executive director. But finances are tight.
Then Dub phoned him up.
He said: “‘Do you think you could make it work if I donated the building?’” Dewling recalled with a laugh.
Yes, that would work just fine.
Dewling expects the first women to move in next month.
The mothers are being supported through a new program called Pregnancy Pathways, set up by a consortium of non-profits. It will help get them housed and get access to pre-natal supports, and continue to support them for the first critical months after the birth.
Without this program, many of these mothers have their children apprehended at birth and go straight back to struggling on the street, said Nancy Peekeekoot, wellness co-ordinator for the program.
Dub’s donation will let them live in a building with other new moms and with additional supportive programming on the main floor. She’s hoping it will be transformational.
“That guy is seriously our hero,” added Lesley Shandro, Peekeekoot’s co-worker.
She said they’ll help set up the women in other homes six to nine months after they give birth.
Dub said the decision to donate the building was easy. He checked with his son, but after helping his kids with their education and housing, they don’t need much more.
“We agreed this was just as good a cause as you could possibly get.”
via Edmonton Journal