Beloved Victoria Charity HeroWork Faces Closure Amid Economic Challenges

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HeroWork, the philanthropic organization renowned for revitalizing other charities within Greater Victoria through property renovations, is facing closure. This charity has been pivotal in transforming the community, leaving its mark across an impressive span of initiatives that include housing and mental health facilities, along with other substantial contributions.

Over its tenure, HeroWork has successfully finalized 17 separate projects across the Capital Region, with a combined value approximating $8 million. However, the charity’s subsequent closure is a direct result of escalating construction expenses, scarcity in trade labour, and diminishing donations, among other factors, slated to take effect in the imminent weeks.

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Paul Latour, the founder and CEO of HeroWork, acknowledged that in challenging economic times, corporations can only contribute within their means; such tough circumstances inadvertently place charitable initiatives at a disadvantage. HeroWork relies heavily on donations in the form of construction materials and labour services from the trade industry, resources that have become increasingly scarce due to inflation.

An example highlighting HeroWork’s contribution is visible in the case of the Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank. HeroWork renovated a raw warehouse space into a functioning kitchen. Treska Watson, Director of Operations, applauded HeroWork’s efforts, acknowledging the funds saved on renovations were invested in procuring food for those in need.

As inflation continues to burden households, the reliance on food banks has surged while donations have dwindled. Watson refers to this decline in contributions as ‘donor fatigue’.

A recent survey by the Victoria Foundation, known as Safety Net, measured the pulse of the non-profit sector, indicating organizations are striving to do more with fewer resources. The foundation’s Director of Communication and Community Engagement, Jonathon Dyke, noted such conditions are causing a strain on local charities.

HeroWork, unfortunately, isn’t immune to these challenges. Despite a commendable decade-long run, its operation is drawing to a close. However, Latour beams with pride when reflecting on his team’s fruitful legacy. He asserts that the renovated buildings will remain in the community, continuing to impact vulnerable populations within Victoria, well into the future.