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Released October 28, 2005

Funding announced to redevelop the
Wiseman Centre in St. John’s

Over $1-million in funding was announced today to redevelop the Wiseman Centre facility for older males, aged 30-65.  The funding ($1,118,000) is being made available to the operators of the Wiseman Centre, the Salvation Army- Newfoundland and Labrador East Division, through the Government of Canada’s National Homelessness Initiative. 

In addition, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC) will cost-share a $500,000 contribution under the Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Affordable Housing Agreement, and $240,000 under the Shelter Enhancement Program. Through NLHC, the province has also conveyed the Wiseman Centre property, valued at $396,000, to The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army will also contribute $739,658 through a variety of funding sources; further in-kind support ($515,570) has been forthcoming from the corporate community.  Additionally, approximately $600,000 per year will be provided by the provincial Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment along with other contributions for operating costs. 

The announcement was made today by the Honourable John Efford, Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Avalon, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing; Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment; and Minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation; Major Raymond Rowe, Newfoundland and Labrador East Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army and Major Jim Champ Assistant Chief Secretary for the Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory.  Mayor Andy Wells also brought greetings on behalf of the city of St. John’s.

“It is encouraging to see partners come together for worthwhile projects like the Wiseman Centre,” said Minister Efford.  “The Government of Canada is proud to invest in helping people, especially those who seek shelter and support as a result of very challenging circumstances.” 

Minister Burke said, “We will be able to better serve people in need as a result of the newly refurbished facility.  I know it will be welcomed by everyone concerned, and I want to thank everyone associated with this important project.  It’s a real example of partnerships and I am pleased that my department is able to play a role in making this a reality.”

“This project we are celebrating today is a very important one for our city.  It’s another example of the Salvation Army extending their compassion and social service to people in difficult circumstances.  Congratulations to everyone associated with this undertaking,” said Mayor Wells.

“This is a proud and significant day for the Salvation Army. The Wiseman Centre project, when completed, will provide a safe shelter with appropriate supports for older men in the St. John’s area. It’s a real need that will now be addressed,” said Major Rowe.

The funding from the National Homelessness Initiative and CMHC, in partnership with Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, is specifically being used to redevelop and provide 20 self-contained shelter units, and 10 supportive housing units, for older males.  The centre will be owned and operated by the Salvation Army, with operating support from the provincial government’s department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. 

The Wiseman Centre was established in 1987 as an umbrella organization for shelters and safe houses in Newfoundland and Labrador.  It acts as a liaison between shelters and government, and provides a representative view of shelter interests. 

Backgrounder

The Wiseman Centre

Owned and operated by The Salvation Army, Newfoundland and Labrador East Division, the Wiseman Centre is the primary shelter for males aged 30 – 65. The project to refurbish the historic property meets the identified priority within the local community's homelessness plan of "enhancing housing options for vulnerable populations."

The objectives of the project are: 

  • To develop 20 self-contained, furnished shelter units with shared bathroom, kitchen and recreational space operated by the Salvation Army in partnership with the provincial Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment.
  • To enhance housing and life skills opportunities for males through one-on-one supports, with access to services offered through partnering agencies and other community services.
  • To create 10 supportive housing units, particularly for men suffering with mental illness. All common spaces and at least one housing unit will be fully accessible.
  • To provide supportive services through a staffing and programming model that will assist tenants to live as independently as possible.
  • To assist and empower men living in both the shelter and supportive housing in the development of basic life skills such as hygiene, cooking, laundry, budgeting — and where possible — employment readiness.
The activities to be undertaken at the Wiseman Centre include renovating the existing structure to accommodate 20 shelter units, as well as the construction of 10 new transitional housing units. These activities will provide sustainable capacity and enable the Salvation Army to address homelessness by providing safe and secure housing arrangements for homeless men in the community. The Salvation Army will also be developing and implementing a comprehensive continuum of supports and services to meet the needs of the homeless male population using the facility.

For more information, contact:

Wayne Piercey
Regional Manager Communications
Service Canada
 (709) 772-5346

Wanda Burt
The Salvation Army
Newfoundland and Labrador East Division
(709) 579-2022

Dawn Ring
CMHC
(709) 687-2194

Jenny Bowring
Corporate Communications, NLHC
(709) 724-3055
E-mail:  releases@nlhc.nf.ca