Sudbury Finnish Rest Home Society plans to cut the ribbon on its 82-unit Lepokoti Supportive Housing Apartment project at Finlandia Village Nov. 2, according to the chair of the SISU campaign.
Gerry Lougheed Jr. said the board plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on that date. The Lepokoti facility will be the sixth seniors' residence at Finlandia. Ground was broken on the facility in June 2011. Originally, the scheduled completion date was set for October 2012.
Furthermore, the $3-million SISU fundraising campaign will likely wrap up one year in advance of the actual target date, he said, and it's due to the generosity of the community and groups like the Voima Athletic Club, which recently donated $150,000 toward the campaign.
“We have a two-year campaign,” Lougheed said, but “we are confident we will reach our objective within a year, rather than two years.”
Voima has been a cornerstone in the community, and in the Finnish community particularly, for decades, Lougheed said. The club's contribution is “a legacy donation,” as the expansion will have the Voima Hall, which will house the club's archives, trophies, pennants and memorabilia.
This past week was momentous not only in the fact that a date has been set for the opening of the new expansion, but also for the fact it was 30 years ago that Finlandia Village started in the community, Lougheed said.
The SISU campaign is spearheaded by the Sudbury Finnish Rest Home Society, which owns Finlandia Village. To date, the campaign has generated in excess of $2 million, although the Society is still calculating the exact number, Lougheed said.
In addition to the 82 affordable seniors’ supportive housing units, Lepokoti will also house a new Wellness Centre and large-capacity community meeting space, as well as the Voima Hall.
The Voima Club is the “gold standard” in terms of cultural, sporting and community involvement and empowerment within the Finnish community, Lougheed said.
“In a very definitive way, the motto of our campaign is very much embodied in this particular donation, because it is a Finnish group that is investing in the well-being of the seniors in our community with these assisted living units,” he said.
Voima and other leading donations are paving the road to success for the campaign, as “we're seeing many people and organizations following their example,” Lougheed added.
Voima Athletic Club chair Tim Nordberg said the funds come from the sale of the club's former hall about 12 years ago. Since then, the club has been handing out eight $750 scholarships a year to post-secondary school students.
He said the SISU campaign allowed the club to make one large contribution to the community.
"We're all getting kind of old, and we need to get rid of the money," Nordberg joked.
There is still plenty of money for the other financial contributions to various athletic events within the city, he said, although demand for the club's money has dropped off over the year.
"The (Lepokoti Supportive Housing Apartment project) was an easy project to support," he said.
Not only will the expansion provide quality living for seniors, but it will help alleviate a number of growing concerns in the community, he said. With an increasing need for affordable housing for seniors in the Sudbury community with low vacancy rates, a lack of affordable housing, growing alternate level of care issues with the hospital and lack of available long-term care beds, the Lepokoti project provides a financially viable solution for the entire community.
“People are coming to the realization that our project is the solution to some challenging problems, and the community is rallying around the campaign in many different ways,” he said.
Lepokoti will cater to the low-income senior or minimum-pension senior by not only offering housing, but meals, cleaning, laundry, medication reminders and a wealth of other services, thereby providing frail elderly with shelter, sustenance and care.
The Lepokoti building will contain 68 one-bedroom supportive housing units, and nine one-bedroom barrier-free supportive housing units. The building will also house five two-bedroom units, which will be rented on a “tenant” basis, according to the Society's plans.
For further information on the Sisu: Assisted Living for Sudbury’s Seniors Capital Campaign, or to make an online donation, visit www.sisusudbury.com or phone 705-618-0877.
Posted by Laurel Myers