By JOSH ALDRICH
Three residents from Michener Centre will have a new address in a new $950,000 low-income housing project in Rocky Mountain House.
The COPE Rocky Mountain House Society for Persons with Disabilities broke ground on the triplex project that will house eight people when it is completed in six to eight months.
With an average basement suite in the Central Alberta community running about $1,200 a month, there is a great need for this type of housing, especially for people on Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH).
“For somebody who lives on AISH, which most of our residents do at $1,588 a month, it just doesn’t work,” said COPE executive director Pat Ferguson.
With the closing of the Michener Centre, even more strain has been put on the system.
“The government has put some capital funds to this, towards agencies to move folks out, and within their own system they have some group homes too that take up some of the slack,” said Ferguson. “But it is putting more pressure on communities outside of Red Deer where people want to go. Some folks have family and they want these people back in their community.”
The Alberta government has put $330,000 towards the project and Ferguson says they will rely on financing, fundraising and other grants to cover the rest of the cost. To help them in this regard, they have partnered with Ironline Compression, a local natural gas services company.
The end project will be 4,700 square feet with two lower level units that are wheelchair accessible, and one apartment on the second level. They already have five other properties they own and two more they rent. This new project will boost their overall capacity to 30 people.