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Wequedong Lodge Celebrates Grand Opening of 110 Bed Facility in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay, Ontario
October 18, 2012

Wequedong Lodge in partnership with Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) and the Government of Ontario gathered at 435 Balmoral Street today to celebrate the Grand Opening of their 110 bed facility.

Charles Morris, Wequedong Lodge Executive Director, says, “Today, we are here to celebrate the opening of Wequedong Lodge’s new building, which is in no small part to the efforts of many people. Recognition is due to the Lodge’s Board of Directors, many of whom have been with the Lodge since the mid-1990’s, to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services and to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation for their grant contributions, to the Credit Union Consortium for their financing, and to those employees who partook in the dream to strive for a single building operation.”

Wequedong Lodge provides lodging and support services to members in small communities in Northwestern Ontario that travel to Thunder Bay for medical appointments. Services also include transportation to and from the airport and laundry services. Wequedong Lodge opened their 110-bed, 52-room facility on March 20, 2012 and continues to average 140 clients per week.

The Grand Opening brought together members of the Provincial and Municipal governments, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (including representatives from Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, Metis Nation of Ontario, and Ontario Native Women’s Association), as well as Grand Chief Harvey Yesno, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, clients and community members.

“I am thrilled that Wequedong Lodge has opened the doors on its new 110 bed expansion and I am tremendously pleased our government was able to help support these efforts. This lodge provides a vital service to the Thunder Bay community, offering support services to Aboriginal Ontarians who live in many small communities across the northwest and travel to Thunder Bay for medical appointments. I would like to thank the many key groups who shared this dream and worked so hard to open this new operation, including the lodge’s board of directors, staff and all of the workers and partners who made this project possible,” said Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay—Superior North.

“Congratulations to Wequedong Lodge Board of Directors and staff who had the vision for this Single Building Initiative and brought it to fruition. This fills a much needed service within our community,” remarked Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay—Atikokan.

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) is a provincial Aboriginal Housing Provider that manages rental units and residential developments across Ontario. OAHS designed and delivered the Rental Component of the First Nation, Inuit, Métis Urban and Rural Housing Program which was a main program funder of this development. This program was a one-time capital program designed for rental developments such as new construction, acquisition of existing vacant residential or non-residential buildings or repair or conversion to affordable rental housing, and new supportive and transitional housing. The goal of the First Nation, Inuit, Métis Urban and Rural Housing Program is to assist in the design and delivery of safe, affordable, culturally appropriate housing for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people living off-Reserve in Ontario.

“Consolidating Wequedong Lodge’s four buildings into one efficient 110-bed development significantly enhances Wequedong Lodge’s service delivery. This is a great example of how Ontario Aboriginal Housing Association’s design and delivery of the First Nation, Inuit, Métis Urban and Rural Housing Program assists in new and sustainable delivery of supportive housing developments”, said Sylvia Maracle, Chair of Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services Board of Directors and Executive Director of Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.

For more information about Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services or the First Nation, Inuit, Métis Urban and Rural Housing Program, please visit www.OntarioAboriginalHousing.ca or call toll-free 1-866-391-1061.

For further information about Wequedong Lodge, please contact:

Betsy Ledger
Project Manager/ Health and Safety Coordinator
Wequedong Lodge of Thunder Bay
435 Balmoral Street
Thunder Bay, ON
Ph: (807) 623-1432
Fax: (807) 623-8223

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