Brazil & Portugal  


Renovations Unveiled as Abrigo Reopens its Second Floor

Grand reopening and donor recognition

By Gerry Luciano, Manager, Fundraising and Communications | May 20, 2022

After a wait that lasted longer than two years, the clients of Abrigo’s Life and Hope seniors’ program returned to find a new kitchen and renovated second floor during a grand reopening and donor recognition event held on April 21, 2022.

It’s appropriate in many ways that this event took place in mid-April because the celebration was not only for the wonderful renewal of existing space on our second floor, but it was also the rebirth of Abrigo’s seniors’ program after a long hiatus.

Renovations: Opportunity to redevelop something special

Our clients time away from one another because of the pandemic was a challenge for many, but it also gave our agency the time and opportunity to redevelop an old and outdated space into something special.

The second-floor renovation and the installation of new kitchen was made possible primarily because of the generous financial support of Mr. Manuel DaCosta, owner of Viana Roofing and Sheetmetal Ltd. and the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) respectively.

An OTF grant of $110,000 allowed Abrigo to completely overhaul existing space and create a fully functioning kitchen. Mr. DaCosta’s extraordinary philanthropic leadership led to the creation of a new Computer Room, Multipurpose Room, Quite Room and staff office. The final transformation, although slowed itself because of the pandemic over the last two years, is spectacular.

The improvements at Abrigo Centre

Abrigo started more than 32 years ago as a resource to help women in the Portuguese-speaking community facing gender-based violence and domestic abuse. Abrigo quickly became a place where, anyone can go, with any concern, and you would get the help you need.

For more than a decade, Abrigo’s Life and Hope program has acted like a warm embrace for so many seniors in our community. Lead by Coordinator Marilia dos Santos and a group of dedicated volunteers, the program has grown and nurtured a sense of community that never existed before.

It brought like-minded seniors together, out of isolation, to sing, laugh, learn, experience a meal as one and grasp all the joy that friendships bring. What’s been created over the last decade is in many ways magical.

Among the special guests in attendance for the ceremony included Davenport MP Julie Dzerowicz and Davenport MPP Marit Stiles who represented the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The reopening of the renovated space was also an opportunity to say thank you to everyone in the community who supported the project with donations that led to the purchase of new furniture and new flooring.

Philanthropic leadership

The highlight of the event however was the unveiling of a naming opportunity thanking Mr. DaCosta for his kind and ongoing philanthropy. His drive to ensure this redevelopment project became a reality is a testimony to his love of the Portuguese community and his love for the seniors who use Abrigo as a meeting place.

Together we’ve created a warm, welcoming and functional environment for our seniors and all the other programs that will use this expanded and redeveloped second floor space.

An old apartment is now our new MDC Media Group Inc. Computer Room, staff office and a Quiet Room. Part of that apartment also now makes up some of our new Viana Roofing & Sheetmetal Ltd. Multipurpose Room included within it a lovely mini library.

New safety features now in place including widened external exit stairway with a decreased slope and new fire doors. All designed to keep our seniors safe. New chairs, desks and furniture brighten the space and make it warm and welcoming.

All of these improvements were made possible because of the vision and commitment of Mr. DaCosta to make a difference for the seniors in our community. His unwavering support of Abrigo the last two years has been the epitome of philanthropic leadership.

For more information on this event or the Abrigo Centre, please visit us at


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Gerry Luciano

Gerry Luciano has been the Abrigo Centre’s Manager of Fundraising and Communications for the last six years. He has an extensive background in both disciplines in the healthcare and social service sectors.

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