Adsum House seeks money from feds

Adsum for Women and Children wants to buy the Adsum House property at 2421 Brunswick St.

By James Jenkinson
Adsum for Women and Children wants to buy the Adsum House property at 2421 Brunswick St.

“There is a [federal] grants program and, from what I’ve been told and what I understand, this is the type of project that would be eligible for funding under that program,” says Sheri Lecker, Executive Director of Adsum.

On Tuesday, city council voted unanimously to support a public hearing to consider the $1 sale to Adsum, making the non-profit organization one step closer to purchasing the partly HRM-owned property.

Lecker expects the positive response from council will in turn help secure funding from the feds, “We’re hoping that as the piece with the city moves along, the federal government piece
will move along, not necessarily in tandem, but shortly after. We’re hoping one will follow the other very quickly.”

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation first valued the property at $379,000. However, a second appraisal undertaken by Public Works and Government Services Canada increased the figure to $860,000 attributing the difference to viewing the property’s value as an apartment building.

If HRM agrees to the $1 sale of their 50 per cent share in the property, Adsum will still need to muster $430,000 to pay the remaining CMHC share.

“We do look at this as a loss,” says councillor Russell Walker, “but it’s our way of giving to social programs.”
Under the HRM charter, council is able to approve this type of sale to an organization it “considers to be carrying on an activity that is beneficial to the Municipality.”

Each day at Adsum House, staff prepares 60 meals for its residents. Between 2010-2011, this included a permanent group of 21 women and nine children.

“I’ve seen people stay for one night or one year,” says Lecker. Once a resident of Adsum House, Julia Grund now visits regularly to see a friend.

“I’ve stayed here once for the night and I had a bed. Then there were a couple of nights where I had nowhere to go and so I slept on the couch there,” says Grund.

Though currently employed with a roof over her head, Grund says Adsum House saved her from having to sleep out in the cold, “I was using drugs, living on the street, you know it was a rough time and they were there to help. It’s great that they have that, they have the food kitchen and they have all sorts of groups for homeless people or people who are in addictions.”

Lecker says Adsum has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in both maintaining and upgrading the property.

“I know there are other properties owned by HRM that have actually seen their value drop,” says Lecker, “We put a new roof on the house, which costed about $115,000, we built on an addition that was $160,000, we ripped up all the carpet and installed hardwood floors,  built a new kitchen and put in a new furnace.”

Lecker says more than half a million dollars has been spent in improvements and doesn’t even count the operating costs.

The public hearing for council to consider this sale will take place on April 9.