New multi-agency project building receives cash infusion

A new building for BETHS, Habitat for Humanity and Whispers of Hope is set to open in the fall.

The new MAAP (Multi-agency accommodation project) building will benefit from a $50

The new MAAP (Multi-agency accommodation project) building will benefit from a $50

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The new MAAP (multi-agency accommodation project) building, which will house Boundary Emergency and Transition Housing Society (BETHS), Habitat for Humanity Boundary (HFHB) and Whispers of Hope Benevolence Association, received a big boost recently with the approval of a $50,000 grant from the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT).

The MAAP facility will provide shelter, meals, clothing and other thrift store items and transition housing units intended to meet the needs of individuals and families in the Boundary region who are homeless, hungry or unable to obtain decent safe and affordable housing.

The facility will also provide office space for the three organizations and a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which will sell used building materials. Profits from the ReStore will be used for administrative and program costs.

“We are using the funding to renovate an existing building for Whispers of Hope, Habitat for Humanity Boundary and BETHS,” said Rick Friesen, executive director for Habitat for Humanity Boundary Society. “We are hoping to have the Whispers of Hope and their thrift store open by the end of September. We need to have the extreme weather shelter open by Nov. 1. Once we have the renovations done, we’ll start on the ReStore.”

Friesen, who is also a director for BETHS, said that that group, which operates the cold weather shelter, has received approval for their budget from BC Housing.

“We have restructured our staffing and volunteer people so we will be able to operate,” he said.

The shelter operates in the winter when it’s cold and wet, or when temperatures dip below freezing, said Friesen.

“We’ll open the shelter some time around Nov. 1 or later, and we’ll close around April,” he said.

Friesen said the shelter was used a total of 249 times last year.

“We feel with the new location that the use will increase as well,” he said.

In addition to the thrift store, Whispers of Hope will also be running their soup kitchen out of the new building.

“They feed up to 50 people a day, Monday to Friday, all year round,” said Friesen.

Habitat for Humanity Boundary continues to be busy with plans to start construction on three homes in Grand Forks in 2014. HFBH already has 14 homes finished in the Boundary including 12 in Grand Forks and two in Greenwood.