Salvation Army breaks ground on new Journey to Life Centre

It also launched a capital campaign aimed at raising $2.3 million for the project.

It also launched a capital campaign aimed at raising $2.3 million for the project

Salvation Army Thunder Bay executive director Lori Mitchell breaks ground on the organization's new Journey to Life Centre, which is due for completion in the fall of 2019. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

The Salvation Army launched a capital campaign Wednesday morning for its new Thunder Bay, Ont., Journey to Life Centre.

The centre will offer a holistic, wrap-around program to clients, including addiction treatment, life skills training, education and job skills, according to Thunder Bay Salvation Army executive director Lori Mitchell.

That will compliment the Salvation Army's existing services in the city, which include an emergency shelter, long-term mental health care, and community services, such as a food bank.

"It's very exciting.  This has been a very long time coming," Mitchell told CBC. 

The design of the Salvation Army's current building on Cumberland Street limits the kinds of programs it can offer, Mitchell said, but the new, purpose-built centre will solve that problem.

"There are going to be 20 self-contained apartments," Mitchell said. "So again, teaching how to take care of your own space, how to be alone.  Many of our residents have lived institutionally most of their lives, and so it's an opportunity for them to learn how to live independently."

The Salvation Army has already raised $8 million of the estimated $12 million needed to build the new centre.

It kicked off the capital campaign Wednesday by accepting a cheque for $350,000 from the Thunder Bay Community Foundation on behalf of an anonymous donor.

Its goal is to raise an additional $2.3 million.

Following the launch, officials broke ground on the centre, which is due for completion in the fall of 2019.