by Morinville News Staff
The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation (JMMF) announced this week that the construction of Jessie’s House has begun.
The safe house, the first of its kind for residents of the Sturgeon Region and the City of St. Albert, will support survivors of domestic violence in Morinville.
Jessica Martel was murdered by her common-law husband in Morinville on April 29, 2009. Jessie’s House is expected to be completed in 2019, 10 years after her murder.
“The JMMF Board, volunteers and our family have worked extremely hard to make this happen. This is an amazing tribute to my daughter to be able to help families in need,” said Lynne Rosychuk, President, Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation Board of Directors.
The organization is anticipating that Jessie’s House will provide shelter primarily to female survivors and their children; however, the safe house will be inclusive, supporting individuals and families of all gender where they are able.
JMMF Board Director Kris Porlier said the first shovels were in the ground Sept. 3 and that there was no official groundbreaking.
“The delay in release was designed to allow the contractors to begin work and to further protect the site,” Porlier said, adding the location of the house is being kept guarded to ensure safety and security of the future occupants. “The Board of Directors and the Foundation’s future executive staff will look into a dedication ceremony when the house is completed and ready for occupancy.”
While the house, scheduled for opening n 2019 is being built, JMMF is fundraising the remaining 40 per cent of the funds necessary to complete the build and support the first year of operations.
“This is a service that is absolutely needed in our area, and we are so grateful for everyone who has come forward to work on this and support our vision, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Porlier said.
The organization is grateful for the countless hours of fundraising, shelter tours and consultation with many experts, including legal backgrounds, law enforcement, shelter employees, municipal planners, interior designers and others.
The home is expected to be completed within 12 months with the first clients being supported in 2020.