‘Jes­sica’s House’ to open in June 2018

Project to move for­ward with $3 mil­lion raised in 16 months

The Goderich Signal-Star - - NEWS - KATH­LEEN SMITH Goderich Sig­nal Star

In March 2016, the South Huron Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion made a com­mit­ment to build­ing a three- bed res­i­den­tial hos­pice in Ex­eter.

Last week at Huron County Council, Steer­ing Com­mit­tee mem­bers of ‘ Jes­sica’s House’ up­dated the coun­cil­lors on the progress of the project.

‘ Jes­sica’s House’ holds a spe­cial place in the heart of the South Huron com­mu­nity, as it is named in hon­our of 22- year- old Jes­sica Ha­mather, who lost her life to an ex­tremely rare cancer in 2015.

“So why South Huron? It’s a vi­brant, thriv­ing com­mu­nity with the fi­nan­cial and hu­man re­sources to lead the sus­tain­abil­ity of ‘ Jes­sica’s House’ well into the fu­ture. It has a com­mu­nity of thou­sands of pas­sion­ate ‘ Jes­sica’s House’ ad­vo­cates, donors and vol­un­teers,” stated Kim­berly Payne, mem­ber of the Steer­ing Com­mit­tee.

The project has been un­der­way for the last 16 months and al­ready has a lit­tle over 3, 000 in­di­vid­ual donors for Jes­sica’s House and has raised $ 3 mil­lion to help fund the build­ing of the hos­pice as well as sus­tain­ing into the fu­ture.

“We be­gan by cre­at­ing a Steer­ing Com­mit­tee and a busi­ness plan. Then we pro­ceeded to raise al­most $3 mil­lion in cash. We have more than that if you count ‘in-kind’ do­na­tions. We have a build­ing lot that has been donated in South Huron and we have tremen­dous Mu­nic­i­pal Sup­port,” added Payne.

Ac­cord­ing to the pre­sen­ta­tion made to Council, the project re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately $ 546, 000 in ma­jor in- kind do­na­tions from area con­trac­tors and builders.

The street address has al­ready been as­signed, as has build­ing per­mits and ap­provals, which has al­lowed con­struc­tion to be­gin, which is al­ready un­der­way.

“All of this progress for ‘ Jes­sica’s House’ has been suc­cess­ful with­out ask­ing for a hand­out, or ex­pect­ing taxes to rise to help fund and sus­tain the hos­pice. All of this was ac­com­plished with the fi­nan­cial sup­port of thou­sands of in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses through­out Huron County,” Chair of Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, Deb Ho­muth said.

Ho­muth added that, “the first an­nual, op­er­at­ing fundraiser event will be held next June”.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­for­ma­tion pre­sented to Huron County Council, the hos­pice will be built, open and op­er­at­ing by Spring 2018. Director of Care and Nurs­ing staff will be hired in the months be­tween now and then, within that time frame.

“One of the rea­sons that we came here this morn­ing, was to thank you for your let­ter of sup­port but also, to re­mind you, that Jes­sica’s House will be a part­ner, an ad­vo­cate and a cham­pion in ex­cel­lence of res­i­den­tial hos­pice care, in Huron County,” said Ho­muth.

‘Jes­sica’s House’ will be a liv­ing class­room, ac­cord­ing to Ho­muth. There is a plan to be part­nered with pos­si­bly both West­ern and Fan­shawe. Med­i­cal stu­dents and nurs­ing stu­dents could have a place­ment at ‘Jes­sica House’ to fur­ther un­der­stand hos­pice care.

In ad­di­tion to all the plan­ning for this project to be­gin, the Com­mit­tee for ‘Jes­sica’s House’ also stated that they un­der­stand the work that goes into not only build­ing a hos­pice, but also op­er­at­ing one suc­cess­fully well into the fu­ture.

“We are tak­ing our sus­tain­abil­ity plan­ning very se­ri­ously. You can­not just build a hos­pice and think that some­how mag­i­cally it will fund it­self. It won’t. We un­der­stand from our men­tors, the other hos­pice’s in On­tario, that we will need to raise 45 per­cent to 55 per­cent of op­er­at­ing costs each year. We don’t want to be a bur­den, lo­cally or in the County. We are in the process of plan­ning an an­nual, op­er­at­ing fundrais­ing event,” Ho­muth ex­plained.

Jes­sica’sHouse is a re­mark­able suc­cess story, with the fact that within only 16 months, $3 mil­lion was raised to sup­port the project.

War­den JimGinn spoke to the pre­sen­ta­tion and on the project by adding that, “County Council is well aware of the need of hos­pice care, not just in Huron County, but in all of On­tario. It’s a ser­vice we have no had in our area and we cer­tainly need more of them. So, hats off to you for all the work you have done.”

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