Abbotsford Hospice Society faces funding shortfall

Construction could be delayed on Holmberg House, the adult hospice at the Campus of Care.

Patrick Giesbrecht

Patrick Giesbrecht

The adult hospice under construction as part of the Campus of Care project in Abbotsford might have to delay its completion due to a current funding shortfall.

David Turchen, chairman of the Abbotsford Hospice Society (AHS) board of directors, said $7 million has been raised so far to fund Holmberg House, but another $3.7 million is required to finish construction.

About another $1.3 million is needed to fully furnish the facility and for other start-up costs.

Turchen said some additional construction costs were incurred through design changes that were required “to optimize the functional space” of the Dave Lede Campus of Care.

He said the funding shortfall won’t impact current construction, but will affect planning for the Phase Two completion of the project.

He said it is hoped that Holmberg House can open in fall 2014.

“We’re not worried … We want to finish, but it might mean the time frame will extend. We all want to get this done. We’re really excited about it.”

Turchen commended the site’s donors and the community for its overwhelming support of AHS to date.

“We have real faith in this community. It’s been very generous to us over the years.”

Holmberg House is one of three projects under construction at the Campus of Care on Marshall Road adjacent to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

The campus also includes Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, due to open sometime in the new year, and Matthew’s House, a respite facility for children with severe disabilities which celebrated its grand opening on Thursday.

Holmberg House will provide end-of-life care to people 19 years and older, as well as support services for their families.

The idea is to provide a home-like setting for people nearing the end of their lives so they do not have to die in the clinical environment of a hospital, but where they can still easily access medical and support services.

The three-storey 30,000-square-foot facility will include amenities such as 10 patient beds, guest suites for family members, an Internet cafe, a youth entertainment centre, therapy rooms, a sanctuary, and counselling services.

“It’s going to be an incredible facility,” Turchen said.

He said AHS is looking at the possibility of opening a thrift store to help offset costs.

Major donors to Holmberg House – named in memory of Dave Holmberg Jr., who died of cancer in March 2011 – have included the Holmberg family of Abbotsford.

The family has made a commitment to provide up to $1 million to help build the facility, and a year ago made a donation of half that amount.

For more information about supporting the project, visit abbotsfordhospice.org or call 604-852-2456.