Options Community Services has a campaign with 50 local women to raise $25,000 each for an affordable housing project in Surrey. (womenofoptions.ca photo).

Gift-card fundraiser to benefit Surrey affordable-housing project

South Surrey business aiming to help 'over and over and over again'

A South Surrey businesswoman is teaming up with fellow mom and Virgin Radio host Nira Arora on efforts to help raise $1.5 million towards an affordable-housing project in Newton.

SOMA MD founder Dr. Monica Michel said Thursday (April 28) that for every donation of at least $50 received through her medical-esthetics business for the Options Community Services project, she will give a $50 coupon that can be used toward any of the self-care services that SOMA (located at 200-2411 160 St.) offers.

“As soon as (Arora) told me this was going on… I got pretty excited about it,” Michel said. “The affordable housing in Surrey, I felt, could benefit so many people. After hearing so many people talk to me about having to move away from the area because of no affordability and things like that, this is something that I felt could make a very big difference.”

Options is working with Habitat Housing Society to build a six-storey project in the 8100-block of King George Boulevard that includes 100 units of housing as well as community services such as mental-health outreach; supports for those with developmental disability; and domestic-violence intervention. Of the 100 units, 70 are to be non-market rentals targeted at those facing barriers to affordable housing.

READ MORE: Surrey council unanimously approves ‘deeply’ affordable housing project

Arora is among 50 women from the South Fraser community who have committed to raising $25,000 each for the initiative.

Michel – a mother of two whose business had only been open for about four months when the pandemic forced a two-month closure – said her contribution to Arora’s effort is also a way of helping others to get involved.

“In the midst of COVID, I can understand that we all have to be careful where we spend our dollars. It’s kind of a tough time to be going around and trying to raise money,” she said.

“This was a way I could do it, but I could also help people who might otherwise find it hard to, to do it and get something for themselves.

“It’s like helping over and over and over again,” she added.

The fundraiser ends May 30.

To support the effort, donate at womenofoptions.ca/nira-arora and send a screenshot of the donation to hello@somamd.ca

Others on the 50 ‘Women of Options’ list include Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman; real estate professionals Bonnie Moy, Louise McKnight, Karen Conyers and Michelle DesRosiers; Hilarapy co-founder Elaine Cheung; former city councillors Judy Higginbothan, and Mary Martin; former mayors Dianne Watts and Linda Hepner; South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce executvie director Ritu Khanna; White Rock Surrey CARP president Ramona Kaptyn; South Surrey White Rock Federal Liberal Association chair Deborah Sahl; former school trustee Penny Priddy; investment and insurance adviser Jas Salh; and Laura Ballance, president of Laura Ballance Media Group.

For more information or to donate to any of the fundraising efforts, visit womenofoptions.ca

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