Violence Against Women Services Elgin County (VAWSEC) opened its new emergency shelter in 2016 on Princess Avenue in St. Thomas after provincial funding and $1.2 million in community donations made it happen.
The innovative design for Women’s Place Elgin’s Emergency Shelter recently earned VAWSEC the prestigious Don Smith Commercial Building Award from the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) in the community institutional category.
The shelter was nominated along with a number of other buildings.
“It’s a pretty competitive field so my first thought was it’s a beautiful surprise,” said VAWSEC executive director Liz Brown.
Brown said the award proves what can happen when a “community of kindness” comes together for the greater good.
“Together we can create a place of dignity, with safety at its foundation, with hope and with the opportunity to truly heal,” Brown said.
The building was designed by VAWSEC with architecture from Cornerstone Architecture. Construction was handled by London-based Bronnenco Construction Ltd.
A committee from LSTAR reviews the building closely to determine a winner, said LSTAR president Jeff Nethercott.