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Neighbourhood Works is located in the former Holy Rosary Catholic Church in St. Stephen. Image: Mark Downey

Neighbourhood Works launches $1.5M fundraising campaign

By Brad Perry Apr 24, 2023 | 5:40 AM

A not-for-profit in Charlotte County needs your help to turn a former church into a community service hub for those experiencing need.

Neighbourhood Works, formerly Charlotte County Group Homes, has launched a $1.5-million capital fundraising campaign called Better Together.

The organization provides residential and community outreach services to youth and adults throughout Charlotte County.

Fundraising campaign chair Heather Bell-Williams said they plan to open two new services in the former Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Union Street in St. Stephen.

“It will include new transitional housing for as many as eight youths aged 16 to 22 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” Bell-Williams said in an interview.

It is an urgently needed service for Charlotte County, she said, noting one in five youth between the ages of 16 and 22 are not in education, employment or training.

Bell-Williams said youth who sign up for transitional housing would be committing to a full program, not just a place to live.

“They would be involved in 40 hours a week of either employment or education or training,” she said. “We’d be looking to establish all of those things that need to happen to help them secure more permanent housing.”

The former church will also become home to the Link Resource Centre, bringing together services vital to community members struggling with challenges ranging from homelessness to mental health needs.

According to Bell-Williams, 15 agencies have already agreed to provide services from this single location.

“Maybe someone just needs access to the clothing collection or the community showers or the community laundry facilities, right down to people who are unsheltered who would have need of food on a regular basis,” she said.

Individuals, businesses and foundations have already pledged $854,000 toward the $1.5-million fundraising goal, said Bell-Williams. Community members can either make a one-time donation toward the campaign or make a commitment over three years.

The overall price tag of the project is $3 million, with the remaining $1.5 million being raised through grants and levels of government. Bell-Williams said the provincial and federal governments have committed nearly $450,000.

Jim Stuart, executive director of Neighbourhood Works, said repurposing the former church will help the community as a whole.

“Having a central location reaches more people in need, makes access faster and timelier, expands the impact and benefits of the skills and capacities of various agencies, and helps them maximize the use of their limited resources,” said Stuart.

“Because of this project, we will witness more people unlocking their potential to live satisfying lives tomorrow.”

Some services are already being delivered from the Link Resource Centre and transitional housing is slated to open in the summer if funding permits.

Bell-Williams said their goal would be to raise the $1.5 million needed from the community by the end of 2023.

Anyone who has questions or is interested in making a donation can drop by the former church at 59 Union Street, visit their website, or email jim.stuart@neighbourhoodworks.org.


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