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New housing underway for women leaving violence in Nanaimo

December 20, 2023 at 9:40 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Women and their children leaving violence in and around Nanaimo will soon have access to 47 safe spaces as construction starts on a new transitional and second-stage housing development.

“Safe housing is fundamental for women, gender-diverse people, and their children who are reshaping their lives after experiencing violence or trauma,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “These new safe spaces will be instrumental in providing safety, security and peace of mind for families across Nanaimo. We will continue to work in partnership with organizations like the Haven Society to provide the safety, supports and services that can help rebuild people’s lives.”

The four-storey, wood-frame building will provide 30 self-contained second-stage housing units with their own bathroom and kitchen, as well as 10 rooms with a total of 17 transition beds for short-term stays. Three second-stage housing units and one transition room will be wheelchair accessible.

The housing will be operated by Haven Society, which supports adults and children leaving gender-based violence. This new building will replace an ageing 17-unit transition home operated by Haven Society. Once construction is finished, Haven will transfer its services and programming to the new building, which has a communal kitchen, amenity room and expanded programming spaces. The building is also close to public parks and a public recreation centre.

“No one should feel unsafe in their home and their community. Yet too many women and gender-diverse people continue to face obstacles after leaving intimate-partner violence,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “These new transition and second-stage homes will offer much-needed support through programming and living arrangements to survivors and their children as they work to rebuild their lives in a safe and compassionate space.”

Transition housing provides safe, temporary shelter with supports for people who need a place to go after leaving a violent or abusive situation. After a stay in a transition house, guests can move to second-stage housing for approximately six to 18 months before moving to more permanent housing in the community. Second-stage housing includes services to help women rebuild their independence, including support groups, system navigation and individualized assistance.

Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2024.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has more than 77,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 1,600 homes in Nanaimo.

Quotes:

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo, and Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction –

 “Women and children fleeing violence need safe housing for a new start. Partnering with Nanaimo’s beloved Haven Society, our government is providing much-needed housing to help stabilize and heal after violence, so that women and their children are able to put down roots and look forward to a more secure future.”

Daylene Jones, executive director, Haven Society

“With the rental market in Nanaimo having only a 2.2% vacancy rate, finding affordable housing for women and families leaving violence is incredibly difficult. The addition of these second-stage units will help immensely in the transition from leaving abuse to finding long-term security and stability.”

Leonard Krog, mayor of Nanaimo

“Council is incredibly grateful and pleased to welcome this very significant and much-needed housing. Gender-based violence is a serious issue. Haven Society will be better able to deliver their valuable services and supports with this new facility.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, is providing $17.5 million through the Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund for the land and construction of the building.
  • Residents of the second-stage home will pay either 30% of their income for rent or, for those receiving income or disability assistance, the provincial shelter rate.
  • Transition homes guests will not be charged rent.
  • As is generally the case for projects that support 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

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

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