Construction Begins!

(Left to Right) From Community First Credit Union – John Ziccarelli, Director of Credit & Business Services; Brian Bumbacco, CFO and Brent Lamming, CEO. From the Ontario Finnish Resthome - Paul Belair, CEO; Todd Slotegraaf, OFRA Board Chair and Heidi Schell, Uusi Koti Leasing Agent.

– Recently there have been new sounds coming from the trees behind the Ontario Finnish Resthome. It’s the sound of construction and that time has finally arrived! On Tuesday September 8, 2015, The Ontario Finnish Resthome Association (OFRA) and The Community First Credit Union finalized a funding agreement that assisted in kicking off the construction of OFRA’s newest Independent Living Building, entitled Uusi Koti (translated to ‘New Home’ from Finnish).

“The Ontario Finnish Resthome Association (OFRA) is extremely grateful for the partnership of Sault Ste. Marie’s local financial institution Community First Credit Union.” says Paul Belair, CEO of the Ontario Finnish Resthome Association. “Uusi Koti: A New Home is the culmination of years of effort and planning on the part of OFRA members, Board, Staff and volunteers, and could not have been successful without their support. We look forward to our ongoing relationship with Community First in the future.”

The signing took place in Suomi Eesti Maja (SEM), OFRA’s current independent living building located at 721 North St. Built in 1976, SEM was the first of OFRA’s seniors’ complex. The current wait list for SEM is approximately eight years, demonstrating the need for this new building.

“The Ontario Finnish Resthome Association has been a valued member of Community First Credit Union since 2011, and we are thrilled to celebrate their growth and success,” says Brent Lamming, CEO of Community First Credit Union. “We take pride in partnering with local organizations who share the same vision and values that we do. The Ontario Finnish Resthome’s long-term goals for community support align with ours, and we both have the same hopes for a thriving and prosperous Sault Ste. Marie. We have been happy to provide support and resources to the Ontario Finnish Resthome over the past four years, and wish them great success in their latest endeavours. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship, and assisting with their strategic vision moving forward in any way we can.”

OFRA is currently undertaking a number of initiatives to meet the growing need for housing for seniors in the Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding communities.

“OFRA has dedicated itself to providing excellent care for our seniors. It is with great pride that we continue our next phase of development and provide safe & affordable housing for seniors in Sault Ste. Marie for many years to come.”

OFRA would like to invite the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie to attend the Official Ground Breaking Ceremony for Uusi Koti: The New Seniors’ Independent Living building being constructed behind the three existing building consisting of 721, 723 & 725 North St. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 14th 2015 at 3pm.

Uusi Koti will be a new, state-of-the-art 9-story apartment complex will house 85 apartments, consisting of both one and two-bedroom standard and wheelchair accessible units. The total estimated cost for this project is $12.5 million. To assist with these construction costs, The Ontario Finnish Resthome Association and Foundation launched its Uusi Koti capital fundraising campaign with a goal of raising a minimum of $2 million for the Uusi Koti building.

“The Foundation would like to thank our community for their ongoing support of our capital campaign.” says Tarja Loewen, Chair of the Ontario Finnish Resthome Foundation. “The work continues as we are almost half-way to our goal.”

With no additional funding beyond its basic operating expenses, OFRA’s future plans require the support of donors and outside funding. There are many ways to give, including by mail, phone or in person, or online at