Renowned charity organization, HeroWork, is known for its transformative impact on other charitable bodies across Greater Victoria, through its monumental focus – renovation of their properties. With a portfolio boasting a diverse range of projects – from residential housing to mental health facilities, the organization has contributed significantly to community development asserts its founder and CEO, Paul Latour.
Throughout its journey, HeroWork completed 17 projects across the Capital Region, realizing a total value of about $8 million. However, the tides are changing for the charity as rising construction costs, labour shortages, and dwindling donations impose operational challenges. Its operations will be discontinuing in the weeks to come.
Latour notes the financial strain on businesses eventually resonates with charitable organizations. With their goals prominently leaning on the donations of construction material and labour from trades, the biting sting of inflation has led to a drain in these resources.
Success stories of HeroWork are not few and far between. Treska Watson, the Director of Operations for the Mustard Seed Street Church and Food Bank recalls HeroWork’s conversion of a raw warehouse space into a fully functioning kitchen. The collaboration led to savings of tens of thousands of dollars that was funneled into buying food for those in need.
However, the food bank is reacting to shifts in demand, facing an unrivaled requirement for its services. Inflation is driving consumers to rely more on food banks, but donations have notably diminished. Watson calls this trend ‘donor fatigue’.
Even the Victoria Foundation has observed the strain, as Jonathon Dyke, Director of Communication and Community Engagement, highlights. A recent survey they conducted, called Safety Net, uncovered three important observations in the non-profit sector. “They are stretching their resources thin, grappling with HR issues while trying to stabilize operations. But the question remains, for how long?” Dyke pondered.
In essence, non-profits are facing a surge in demand while revenues dwindle, leading to a mounting tension in charities throughout the region. Despite the current struggle, Latour reflects on the dream that was HeroWork and its defining presence in the community.
What brings Latour most pride is the legacy HeroWork will leave behind. Over the last decade, what the team achieved, he said, will continue to benefit the community for years ahead.
“These buildings go nowhere. They will persist in their service to Victoria’s vulnerable populations,” concluded Latour.