Second housing unit needed in Sudbury for acquired brain injuries: March of Dimes

More than two dozen people with acquired brain injuries remain on a wait list for supportive housing in northeastern Ontario.

New building aims to provide housing for 12 people from across Northern Ontario

Joe-Ann Vandelig visits her son Ken Vandelig at Wade Hampton House in Sudbury. (Jason Turnbull/CBC)

More than two dozen people living with acquired brain injuries remain on a wait list for supportive housing in northeastern Ontario.

With that in mind, March of Dimes Canada continues to raise money to build another facility in Greater Sudbury on the same property as Wade Hampton House on Bancroft Drive.

That facility, which opened in 2011, includes rehabilitation and 24-hour support for its ten permanent residents — all of whom live with acquired brain injuries of varying severity.

There's nothing else like that facility in the northeast region, said Susan Levesque, the local March of Dimes campaign manager.

"There [are] 27 people still on a waiting list ... looking for similar accommodations," said Levesque. She added that a second facility would help take people off that waiting list, and help them to stay closer to home. 

The nearest similar facilities are in Toronto, Hamitlon, Oakville and Sarnia, said Levesque.

Candice Kirkbride of Sudbury suffered a brain injury when she was hit by a vehicle at just 15 years old. She's now the spokesperson for the March of Dimes fundraising campaign to build a second supportive housing unit for people with acquired brain injuries in Sudbury. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Candice Kirkbride of Sudbury suffered an acquired brain injury 16 years ago as a teenager when she was hit by a vehicle in Hanmer.

She's now the spokesperson for the "Moving A-Head" fundraising campaign in Sudbury. 

Kirkbride said she understands the need for 24-hour care and assistance for residents of Wade Hampton Home.

"They can't care for themselves ... it's kind of a rehabilitation facility. I have gone through all my healing. I don't need this [kind of facility]," said Kirkbride, but said she still wants to help.

Partial proceeds from Kirkbride's first book, Changed by the Rain will go toward the proposed new building.

The book, which chronicles her journey with a brain injury, is expected to be published in July.

There's a wait list for supportive housing in Sudbury for people with brain injuries. Candice Kirkbride spoke to us about the March of Dimes campaign to raise money for a second supportive housing unit for Sudbury. 9:25

Local fundraisers set $1 million goal 

The "Moving A-Head" capital campaign was first launched about a year ago, but Levesque wouldn't get into specifics about how much has been raised so far, saying only that it's "a small amount" toward the goal.

Several other upcoming fundraisers are expected to bring in some money, and Levesque said the campaign is also looking for $2 million in government funding, with various requests still pending.

Architectural drawings of new March of Dimes supportive housing unit in Sudbury for those with acquired brain injuries. (Photo supplied)

Meanwhile, architectural drawing for the building were completed in January. If the March of Dimes is able to raise the remainder of the funds this year, construction could begin in the summer of 2017.

The building would provide housing for 12 people from across Northern Ontario who are living with acquired brain injuries.

They would share rehabilitation and hydrotherapy rooms with residents of the nearby Wade Hampton House.