The roof of the Caring Place needs work – and its cost has almost doubled from original pre-pandemic estimates to about $500,000.
And this is not the only repair bill the non-profit building – that houses 12 agencies serving Richmond residents – is facing.
Another $1.5 million is needed to fix the cracks in the balconies. And building envelope work also needs to be done.
Facing all these mounting costs, the Caring Place board has launched a fundraising campaign, the Caring Forever Fund, through the Vancouver Foundation.
Belinda Boyd, chair of the Caring Place board, said they have always been hesitant to fundraise given that all their tenants - including Turning Point, SUCCESS, Chimo and others - regularly fundraise to run their operations, not wanting to compete with them.
But the needed maintenance has changed their focus.
“We’ve shifted because we have no other option,” Boyd told the Richmond News.
While the Caring Place board of directors had a vision to double the capacity of the building and build non-profit housing on the city-owned lot, this plan was met with little enthusiasm from the city and has been temporarily shelved, although Boyd said the plan is still “in our hearts.”
The more immediate problem is to do the expensive repairs to keep their current building viable.
The initial estimate for fixing the roof was $275,000 but a recent post-pandemic estimate put that cost at $500,000.
The board had a building audit done by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, costing them more than $5,000.
When they approached the city, the city decided to do their own inspection and building assessment.
City spokesperson Clay Adams confirmed the city did the assessment but added "the reports and discussions related to this matter have been deemed confidential."
Despite the audit done by the Caring Place, it’s “prudent” for the city to do its own assessments of its facilities “to ensure it has a timely and accurate summary of what may or may not be required,” explained Adams.
The Caring Place board of directors is awaiting this report.