The Antigonish Affordable Housing Society ran a successful campaign in the 2017 Aviva Community Fund, winning $100,000. The money will go toward building a Community Room in Phase 2 of the Riverside Estates.
 
One of the Society’s volunteers, Sister Marion Sheridan of the Sisters of St. Martha’s, kindly offered some thoughts on what the money means for sustainable development in Nova Scotia. 
 
INTERVIEWER
How does it feel to be here today with everyone cheering?
 
SHERIDAN
It’s overwhelming in some ways but it’s absolutely wonderful! When I heard that this Fund was available from Greg (Hull), another one of our board members, I said we’re going to go after that. It took us three years, never quite believing we would get it because of the project. But now I’m just absolutely thrilled. And I’m also thrilled for AA Munro because they were our broker. Wayne Ezekiel was on our committee and really helped us to move through. I think that besides having our IT person, James Smeaton, I’m not sure we would have pulled it off without them.
 
INTERVIEWER
I heard that you were active emailing some of your colleagues around the world.
 
SHERIDAN
Yes, I’m part of two NGO groups at the United Nations with people in about thirty-eight countries. So we asked all of them. And I have friends in Australia so we also asked them. Anybody we knew!
 
INTERVIEWER
Do you think that getting that broad global support for this local cause made a difference as well?
 
SHERIDAN
Yes I do. And I think we have a model that’s potentially global. It’s not just this group of housing units. The model is what we’re trying to put across provincially, federally and globally because it’s about developing people. It’s about partnerships. You can’t do it alone. We have a Community Navigator at Riverside Estates, that’s another key. I’ve worked on other housing projects in the past in Sydney and Boston. I’ve been at this a long time and I know it takes more than a physical building. So when people come into this project in Antigonish, they agree to meet every two weeks with the Community Navigator to deal with their home issues. Whether it’s noise or garbage, they develop skills to deal with conflict and help manage each other.
 
INTERVIEWER
What’s next for you and the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society? There’s still work to do as we’ve heard.
 
SHERIDAN
That’s right. I think we really have to get these ten units up and get the Community Room working. It really is a lot of work to pull people together. I think there’s an underlying attitude in the culture that if you’re poor it’s your own fault. And so it’s hard to get a lot of support for poverty eradication. We’re doing something federally now with housing, and this local project is a potential model. It’s not just housing, it’s how you help people to move on, have a home and get some confidence in themselves.
 
INTERVIEWER
Thank you very much.
 
SHERIDAN
Thank you.