Ice project to help fund construction

A dozen sculptors will create art out of ice to bring the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach closer to building a 10-suite affordable housing project for abused women and their children in the new year.

A dozen sculptors will create art out of ice to bring the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach closer to building a 10-suite affordable housing project for abused women and their children in the new year.

An Elements of Ice sculpture exhibit will be held in Red Deer on Friday and Saturday to help finance a proposed $1.6-million apartment building called Julietta’s Place.

Ten to 15 ice sculptors from all over Alberta will create aboriginal-themed ice sculptures at 55th Street and Gaetz Avenue south. Proceeds from admissions — $5 for adults and $2.50 for 12 to 18 year olds (children and seniors are free) — will go towards the housing project.

Julietta’s Place was conceived to help female victims of domestic violence make the transition to an independent life, said outreach executive director Barb Barber.

The City of Red Deer has contributed $1.05 million towards the cost and fundraising must make up the rest. Barber will also look into grants and other options.

She believes more local low-cost housing is badly needed — Red Deer has a tight rental market and most single moms leaving violent relationships have a hard time affording one-bedroom apartments that cost $750 monthly in 2008.

Rents at Julietta’s Place will be up to a quarter less than the market rate. “It would definitely give women the option of not having to return to a violent situation,” said Barber.

A location has not yet been finalized but Barber hopes to complete the apartment building by the end of 2010. The unfurnished suites will have one to three bedrooms, and tenants will be offered outreach support and counselling.

“There will be a support group for the women and counselling for children who have witnessed violence.”

The idea is to “create a bridge to self-sufficiency.”

Women will stay at Julietta’s Place for six months to two years before moving on to permanent housing.

Tenants will be required to work on a plan for their own economic and personal stability, said Barber, who’s thrilled by the project’s support.

The $1.05 million in municipal funding “shows the city is really taking steps towards taking care of people in crisis,” she said.

Barber invites all area residents to drop by the exhibit to see “art emerge from ice” and support a worthwhile cause.

It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday on the site of a former ice-cream business, just south of the Red Deer River and north of the Alpha Milk plant.

The reason the project is being called Julietta’s Place is to be announced at a later date.

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