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More safe, secure housing for women and children opens in Abbotsford

May 11, 2023 at 1:20 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Women and their children leaving violence in Abbotsford will soon be moving into 12 new second-stage homes in the community.

“Through the opening of this residence, we are marking another important step in creating a positive impact on the lives of women and children leaving violence,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “We will continue our work to ensure that more women and children can live in homes and communities where they feel safe and secure, and where they can start moving forward on their paths to recovery.”

Cheryl Smith Residence, a three-storey building, provides second-stage housing for women and their children in a family-oriented development with two-bedroom homes and programming space.

Second-stage housing provides short-term accommodation with on-site supports for women and their dependent children leaving violence. Residents typically move into second-stage housing after a stay in a transition house and then live in the units usually for no longer than 18 months before moving to more permanent housing.

“This project is a good example of how our government is working with partners to make sure that women and children in need have access to homes and supports that can help them get back on their feet,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “We are thankful to our partner, SARA for Women, for helping us operate these much-needed homes.”

Rental rates are 30% of residents’ income, or at the provincial shelter rate for those who are receiving income or disability assistance.

The building is a redevelopment that underwent substantial renovations, including security system and common space upgrades, the addition of sprinklers, a roof replacement and structural repairs to the building’s exterior. The individual two-bedroom homes include a kitchen, bathroom, dining area and in-suite laundry.

“Women and children continue to face violence in our communities, and it is imperative that we provide safe spaces where people can rebuild their lives without having to live in fear,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “These second-stage homes are an important step in providing spaces where women and their children can plan their next steps and create stability in their lives.”

SARA for Women, a local non-profit organization that provides support services to women and children in Abbotsford and Mission, is operating the homes. Through SARA, tenants are receiving on-site support services, such as safety planning, crisis intervention, parenting support and tenancy resources. The residence has been named in honour of Cheryl Smith, a long-term client of the organization.

“At the end of 2022, in our other second-stage housing in Abbotsford, we had a waitlist of 186 women waiting on safe homes,” said Michelle Puffer, executive director, SARA for Women.  “Cheryl Smith Residence will make but a small dent in that, but it is a mighty one. It means that 12 women and their children will find a safe haven and time to start working on a new future, empowering them to live a life free from violence.”

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has delivered more than 74,000 new homes that have been completed or are underway, including nearly 430 homes in Abbotsford.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province provided approximately $9.2 million through the Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund for the purchase and renovation of the building.
  • The Province is also providing an annual operating subsidy of approximately $240,000. 
  • As is standard for projects for women and children leaving violence, the address of this project has not been disclosed for safety reasons.

Learn More:

To learn more about government’s new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

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