Selkirk College Nursing Students Get Involved in Room to Live Campaign

A pair of Selkirk College Nursing Program students are helping bring awareness to the issue of affordable housing in Nelson.

On February 21, the Nelson CARES’s Room to Live Campaign is holding the first annual Coldest Night of the Year walk in Nelson. The walk is intended to raise awareness and funds for Ward Street Place, the only affordable living complex in Nelson's downtown. The goal for the Coldest Night of the Year is $25,000 and Nelson has already raised more than $16,000. Currently there are 181 walker and 38 teams committed.

Selkirk College nursing students Jessica Laramee (left) and Ren Pinnegar (right) are helping raise awareness for the Coldest Night of the Year event that takes place on February 21 in Nelson and is raising for Ward Street Place (seen in background).

“I’m very excited to be involved with this walk,” says Jessica Laramee, a third-year nursing student attending Selkirk College. “This walk is a great opportunity for people to participate in a community initiative aimed at making affordable living more dignified. It is even more significant being a nursing student as affordable housing is one of the main facets of health in a community.”

Students Use Placement to Further Education

The student’s practice placement with Nelson CARES provides valuable insight into the relationship between affordable housing and the health of a community. It shows the ability of a community to rally together to effect positive change.

“As nursing students it is important to raise awareness of the positive effects affordable housing has on individual health and the health of a community,” says Ren Pinnegar, also a third year nursing student doing his placement at Nelson CARES.

The plan is to renovate all of the 38 apartments at Ward Street Place one room at a time over the next three years. The upgrades will include—but not limited to—windows, kitchen appliances, cabinets and fixtures. The fire suppression system has already been replaced.

The entire project will cost about $2.9 million. Through grants and selling property, Nelson CARES has already raised $2.2 million. Through other fundraisers, such as an event at the Capitol in November, another $245,000 has been raised. To fully fund the project, another $455,000 is required.

The walk will be in Nelson February 21 starting at 5:15 p.m. Registration starts at 4 p.m. at Ward Street Place (corner of Ward and Victoria). People can get involved by donating, volunteering or walking. To pre-register go to

“This is just a small way individuals can join together to make a big difference in the lives of those who need a helping hand,” says Laramee.

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