Dubes donate $1M to Lighthouse: Capital campaign to expand emergency shelter

By Jonathan Charlton,  The Star Phoenix June 1, 2013 - Carmen Schick has been living at the Lighthouse Supported Living shelter since last January.

Schick, 40, was in a road accident in 2001, and had a tough time recovering.

"I was unable to care for myself, I was pretty banged up, and lots of emotional scars. I just couldn't do it on my own. I was in and out of the psych ward and I was sick of it. Something had to change," she said.

She had been living in group homes, but they weren't working out. The Lighthouse was a much better fit. She now serves as a mentor for some of the other clients.

The shelter offers "some independence, but still with some support, for making sure your meds are all taken care of, and doctors appointments are booked. There's help here if you just access it," she said.

Schick was shocked when she learned of the $1 million donation from Leslie and Irene Dube to the $4 million capital campaign for the facility.

"I haven't been this happy in a long time. I'm even more happy now our rooms are getting done," she said. "This place has just been growing in leaps and bounds. It can only get better now."

Campaign organizers made the announcement at the Lighthouse on Friday. The former Capri Place tower will now be known as the The Dube Lighthouse.

Leslie Dube said more fortunate people have a responsibility to help others.

"You can see when you walk around here what the clientele is like. It's a very touching, emotional thing, to walk by without giving them a helping hand," he said.

The Lighthouse provides emergency women's and men's shelters, as well as long-term supportive housing and affordable housing. It also operates two transitional homes.

The capital campaign is an effort to expand and renovate the facility, including 68 individual rooms, an atrium, an art room, a gym and an education and employment centre.

"We don't want people to have to live on the streets. We want everybody to live with dignity. I mean, they have a right to it, they're born with the same creation as we are, and it should not be that we have so much and just ignore those and walk by them and let them fall through the cracks," Dube said.

He hoped Friday's event would kick-start the rest of the fund raising, which is scheduled to last six months.

"It's a charity that touches the heart of people, but they have to see what's happening here to really realize how important it is to help us out," he said.

It's an ambitions target, but the campaign now has a good head start, said campaign co-chair Lesley Courtney.

"Today's donation was important because of the size of the donation, as well as the importance of who it's from. It's from Les and Irene, they're leaders in our community, and we're counting on support from other people in the community that have the capacity to help us reach this goal," she said.