Official opening of the new
Tommy Sexton Centre in St. John's
Today marked the official opening
of the new Tommy Sexton Centre. Built at a cost of over $1.4 million,
the Tommy Sexton Centre will provide emergency shelter services,
transitional and supportive housing, and supports to people living with
human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
(HIV/AIDS) in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Capital funding for the centre is
being made available to the sponsors of the Tommy Sexton Centre, the
AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Government of
Canada’s National Homelessness Initiative ($832,500). Additional
funding was provided through the collaborative efforts of Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Newfoundland and Labrador
Housing Corporation (NLHC) under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador
Affordable Housing Agreement ($450,000) and
additional provincial funding of $144,000 from NLHC. In-kind
contributions were also provided to the project by the City of St.
John’s and by the provincial department of Transportation and Works,
who donated the land for the project.
In addition, yearly operating
funding will be provided to the centre through the provincial
departments of Health and Community Services ($50,000) and Human
Resources, Labour and Employment ($70,000).
The centre was officially opened
today by Tom Osborne, Minister of Health and Community Services
representing the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Bill
Downer, executive director of the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and
Labrador. Deputy Mayor, Dennis O’Keefe, City of St. John’s, shared in
the opening on behalf of the city. Sara Sexton, mother of the late
actor/musician Tommy Sexton, after whom the centre is named, along with
Robyn Pardy, an individual living with HIV/AIDS and long-time community
activist, also participated in the ceremony today.
Loyola Hearn, Minister of
Fisheries and Oceans, was unable to attend the ceremony today but sent
along his best wishes on this important addition to the community. "It
is very satisfying to see when people come together to undertake
worthwhile projects like the Tommy Sexton Centre," said Minister Hearn.
"Canada’s new government is pleased to support programs and services
that directly help people, especially those who seek shelter and
support as a result of very challenging circumstances. This is the
culmination of a lot of hard work by many individuals, and I wish the
AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador well in its important work."
"This centre is a true example of
what we can accomplish when all levels of government and community come
together as partners to address the diverse affordable housing needs of
our province. Through my department’s ongoing support of the Tommy
Sexton Centre, the services provided to persons directly affected with
HIV and AIDS will be enhanced and coordinated, which will make a
meaningful difference for these individuals," said Minister Osborne.
Paul Shelley, Minister of Human
Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister responsible for
Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, said: "We are very proud
to be part of a ground-breaking project that will provide assistance to
individuals and families at a time in their lives when they are most in
need. For those living with HIV/AIDS, it is so important to be in an
environment with family, friends and professionals who can be on hand
to provide emotional and medical support, and who understand the
challenges they face. All these factors contribute greatly to
maintaining quality of health, and I know this facility will be an
invaluable asset to our community."
John Hickey, Minister of
Transportation and Works, added: "Our department is pleased to be a
part of this project and a partnership that is focused on finding
solutions to community housing needs. It’s a dream come true for many,
and will provide much comfort and support for individuals and families
affected by HIV/AIDS, in our province."
"This project is a very important
one for our city and province. It’s another example of people meeting a
need in the community. I commend everyone associated with this
undertaking," said Deputy Mayor O’Keefe.
"This is an important day for the
AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Tommy Sexton Centre,
will provide a shelter facility with appropriate supports to people
living with HIV/AIDS in Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s a real need
that will now be addressed," said Bill Downer.
Robyn Pardy said, "On behalf of
people living with HIV/AIDS across the province, I would like to
congratulate the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador on the
successful and important development of the Tommy Sexton Centre. Safe
and affordable housing can have such a huge impact on an individual’s
health. This project will provide much needed and important housing
services to an underserved population."
Sara Sexton, whose son Tommy died
of AIDS, said, "I have hoped for and dreamed of this day for many
years, and I am so pleased to share in the official opening of the
Tommy Sexton Centre. I know Tommy would be very proud and honoured to
have his name attached to this new centre. It’s a beautiful setting and
on behalf of my family, I want to thank everyone who played a role
making this wonderful project and ceremony a reality."
The funding from the National
Homelessness Initiative’s Regional Homelessness Fund (RHF) and
Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), and CMHC and NLHC
in partnership with the province, is specifically being used to develop
four self-contained shelter units, and six self-contained accessible
and furnished supportive housing units. The centre will be owned and
operated by the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador, with
operating support from the provincial government departments of Human
Resources, Labour and Employment and Health and Community Services.
The AIDS Committee of Newfoundland
and Labrador is a consumer-focused, non-profit organization that
provides supportive programs and services aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS
and supporting persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The
committee works on a collaborative basis with partners, interested
groups and stakeholders to achieve its goals. The Tommy Sexton Centre
is named after actor and musician Tommy Sexton, who advocated for those
living with HIV/AIDS and who succumbed to his illness on December 13,
For further information, please
Manager, Corporate Communications
Newfoundland and Labrador Housing
Regional Manager, Communications
Health and Community Services
AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador
Transportation and Works