Grand Opening Held for New Centre of Hope in Whitehorse

Grand Opening Held for New Centre of Hope in Whitehorse
by Alberta

Sitting in a picturesque valley quietly surrounded by forest and wildlife, the city of Whitehorse, Yukon, was buzzing with excitement on October 6 as The Salvation Army held their official grand opening for the new Centre of Hope.

The event began with a prayer, noting we should all “work for good” from Elder Ann Smith, as the building is on the traditional lands of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwach’an Council. The Hon. Larry Bagnell, Premier Sandy Silver, and the Hon. Pauline Frost all spoke to the importance of the new shelter to the community, the great partnerships that made it happen, and the excitement of all that can be accomplished in the new Centre.

The Salvation Army’s Chief Secretary, Colonel Lee Graves, also spoke to the crowd of about 100 and Grand Chief Peter Johnston presented him with a traditional plaque for the building that will be hung in a place of prominence for all to enjoy.

The Centre of Hope boasts 25 shelter beds, which is an increase from the crowded 14 beds in the current shelter. It will also offer 20 transitional housing rooms, which isn’t something the current shelter can offer due to lack of space. It will also feature resource areas, recreation rooms, meeting space, computers to help with job searches, and much more. The potential for increased programs and services for this new building is high.

“The new Centre of Hope offers much more in the way of resources and opportunities than the current shelter ever could,” says Executive Director, Ian McKenzie. “It allows us to better serve and assist those who come to us reach their goals.”

The current soup kitchen averaged 206 meals a day, or 75,355 a year. One of the many great features of the new building is the large commercial kitchen – many times the size of the current one, which will allow staff to greatly increase the amount of food they can prepare, store, and serve to residents and for soup kitchen meals.

The stunning three-story building is more than just a new shelter; it will help people transition out of homelessness, give those in need a permanent address while they look for work, be a centre of community and family for those without, and a safe place to call home.

Elder Ann Smith and Major Glenda McKenzie, Corps Officer.

Elder Ann Smith and Major Glenda McKenzie, Corps Officer in Whitehorse.

For more photos of the grand opening please visit our Flickr site.