Jubilee Place is so much more than affordable housing. Sure the downtown Trail building has provided a safe and cozy shelter for low income residents since 1982. More than that, the facility fosters lasting friendships and has renters feeling a joyful sense of pride for the place they call home.
Frank Ross moved into Jubilee Place 12 years ago after his Rossland Ave. apartment became part of the city’s teardown that made way for the Gulch chain up area.
Ross, now 56, says being given the chance to move into low income housing was a stroke of luck that he thinks about often and is thankful for everyday.
“It’s just been wonderful to have the friendships of the residents in here,” said Ross, who was born with cerebral palsy.
“One of the things I am most proud of is on April 1 this year, one of the residents celebrated her 96th birthday. She came downstairs and I put my arm around here and said ‘I am proud to say you are like family to me,’” he added.
“We are literally 40 years apart in age – to have a friendship like this means a lot to me when someone has worked as hard as she has, as has many of the residents in here. To say we really have a family atmosphere is something that I am very proud of.”
Many tenants in the 35-unit seniors’ independent living facility gather each night in the first floor common area to chat, play cards, work on jigsaw puzzles, or call bingo.
“It’s a testament to a lot of the people that do live here,” said Ross. “Nobody is pressured into doing something they are not comfortable with but I do like when people try to reach out, be sociable and have friendship to offer.”
Neighbours come together for special occasions like Christmas dinners or New Year’s Eve parties and birthdays are celebrated on the last Thursday each month. “I’ve always felt comfortable here and have strong ties to people in here because friendships have been built over the years,” Ross added.
Thirty three years ago, Jubilee Place began as a low income housing project for seniors under the umbrella of the Trail Elderly Citizens Housing Society (TECHS).
“If you’ve had an opportunity to visit Jubilee Place, you will quickly come to learn that it’s not your average apartment building,” says Scott Daniels from the Rotary Club of Trail, the organization instrumental in the concept, non-profit operations and maintenance of the facility. “The caretakers Dianne and John contribute a sense of camaraderie and community with residents.”
Jubilee Place is hosting a special event Saturday at 1 p.m. to posthumously honour Ed Nichols, a 48-year Trail Rotarian member and longest serving TECHS board director.
“In times of good or poor health, Ed had time to play a leadership role with Jubilee Place,” explained Daniels. “For Ed, service-above-self was not only a motto of the Rotary, but it was a way of life for him.”
Nichols had been ailing before his passing earlier this year, so before leaving his position, he assembled a new board of directors.
“He was determined to serve on the board as long as he could,” noted Daniels. “And that he did.”
In Ed’s letter of resignation dated Dec. 30, 2014, he wrote, “My last day of service as president will be Friday, Jan. 2, 2015,” Daniels added. “This was the day that Ed passed away.”
Residents and the board of directors invite friends, past residents and past directors to the Ed Nichols Recognition Tea on June 13, to remember the man dedicated to keeping this special place up and running for so many years. His family and community members contributed new furniture that adorns the entrance foyer, and a plaque with his photo will be hung in memorium.
Frank will be speaking during the event, saying he doesn’t need to write anything down because the memories of Jubilee Place run so deep. “Everything in here has been special for me,” he said. “I am very lucky to be in here considering the friendships and what some other people are paying for rent. There’s not enough places like Jubilee Place and that makes this even more valuable.”