Nestled in the heart of Hintonburg is a building that will soon be home to the Hintonburg Hub: a new location for Somerset West Community Health Centre’s expanding services.
The centre announced a location for its long-planned satellite project Nov. 20.
Scheduled to open in February 2014, the Hintonburg Hub will provide more than 1,100 residents with access to health services and join a network of community services already established in the area.
“It’s the perfect place to be linked in a real hub,” says Chantale LeClerc, Champlain Local Health Integration Network CEO.
The building, located at 30 Rosemount Ave., neighbours the Ottawa Public Library’s Rosemount branch, Ottawa West Community Support, Ottawa West Senior Citizen Support Services and the Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre.
“When we heard this building was available, we jumped at the chance,” Vicky Smallman, chair of the Somerset West health centre’s board said in a press release. “It’s a huge win for the community.”
Earlier this month, Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre, announced new funding that will allow the long anticipated expansion to become a reality. The Champlain LHIN will provide $334,000 annually to fund operations for the new centre.
But these funds will not cover the centre’s initial purchase of the land. Instead, the Somerset centre will leverage its existing building at 55 Eccles St. as equity, reducing the amount it needs from the government.
Naqvi praised the Somerset centre for overcoming the hurdles of government funding and location.
The centre’s success is the end of a seven-year struggle to open a satellite location. The need for a new space was identified as early as 2007, but it’s taken until now to make it a reality.
Their latest setback came in October, when the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corp., a non-profit housing organization, stepped away from the project due to other commitments and their director of development’s resignation, leaving the hub without a home.
“At the end of the day, the funding from the government was the least of their concern,” says Naqvi.
But even with a location secured, Naqvi says the centre still needs to raise an additional $500,000 to renovate the new building.
The centre has plans to launch a capital campaign to raise the money, said Smallman in an email, advising those interested to “stay tuned.”
To keep the centre cost-effective, Smallman said the Hub plans to use existing staff to run the new location, but did not explain how the centre plans to manage both locations in doing so.
“We also hope to work with partner agencies on joint programming, which we currently do at locations all over our catchment area,” said Smallman.
Despite a surge in funding and interest in community health care in the past few months, some centres are still struggling to cope with the expanding downtown population.
In Centretown, experts say that the population is growing rapidly with imminent construction of 4,000 new condo units creating an expected population surge of 20,000.
“We need to pay attention to our growing population,” says Simone Thibault, Centretown Community Health Centre’s executive director, “We’re in the same boat of trying to respond to the needs of our local community.”
For CCHC, finding the place to expand isn’t an easy option. But both Thibault and Naqvi say they’re open to all possibilities, including partnering with condo developers or opening another satellite centre.
“I’m an optimist,” says Naqvi.
For now, Thibault says she has submitted proposals to the Champlain Local Health Integration network and remains hopeful that new money will mean new services, and new ways to give Centretown residents the help they need.