HeroWork Charity Faces Shutdown Amid Rising Costs and Dwindling Donations

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HeroWork, a charity renowned for renovating buildings of other charities across Greater Victoria, is facing an unexpected halt. The founder and CEO, Paul Latour, details their extensive experience of improving housing, mental health facilities, and various other projects that have significantly contributed to the community. With 17 completed projects valued approximately to $8 million in the Capital Region, HeroWork’s influence cannot be underestimated.

Sadly, their noble operation is on the verge of ending due to a multitude of obstacles, including soaring construction costs, a labour deficiency in the trade sector and a significant decrease in donations. Latour expresses the dilemma, stating that corporations can only contribute to a certain extent and their hardships inevitably reflect on the charity. HeroWork heavily relies on donations of construction materials and labour within the trades, which are presently scarce due to inflation.

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A testament to HeroWork’s impact comes from Treska Watson, the director of operations for the Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank, who proudly showcases an entire kitchen transformed by HeroWork from a bare space. Through their collaboration, the food bank was able to serve meals daily to hundreds of clients, while saving immensely on renovations. These funds were then allocated to buying food for people in need. Despite this, Watson notes an ascending reliance on the food bank due to financial strains, coupled with dwindling donations as a result of donor fatigue.

Similarly, Jonathon Dyke from the Victoria Foundation articulates the prevalent fiscal tension, stating “everybody is facing pressures right now”. Subsequently, in February, the foundation initiated a ‘Safety Net’ survey to assess the non-profit sector. The findings reiterated the reality of organizations struggling to do more with less, prolonged human resource issues and an uncertain future.

Emerging from the survey is a stark reality – non-profits are witnessing a soaring demand for their services, yet revenues are shrinking. This prevailing crisis adds pressure on all charities in the region. With a heavy heart, Latour concludes, “It was a dream that we had to make this happen, but unfortunately that dream is done.”

However, even as many charities grapple with adversity, the legacy of HeroWork shall endure. Their decade-long labor of love has solidified a legacy they can be proud of, as it will continue to serve the community of Victoria for years to come. For, as Latour affirms: “These buildings don’t go away, they will continue to impact the vulnerable populations here in Victoria”. So, while the end of HeroWork’s active role in the community may be approaching, its contribution will live on through the numerous renovated buildings dotting Greater Victoria.