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Women’s transition housing, child care centre open in Kitimat

April 16, 2024 at 1:53 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Parents and guardians will have access to more child care, and women and children leaving violence will now have access to 44 homes, as part of a new housing development opening in Kitimat.

The four-storey building includes a 12-bed transition house, 12 units of second-stage housing and 20 units of permanent affordable housing for women and their children leaving violence in Kitimat and the surrounding area. It will also feature a 24-hour child care facility on site. 

“Transition homes are a vital first step so vulnerable women and children can rebuild their lives, surrounded by the supports and services they need, in Kitimat,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “Creating spaces like these are part of our government’s responsibility to help our most vulnerable, while addressing the urgent need for affordable child care that makes life easier for parents and guardians. This is the latest example of our commitment to increase housing access for those in need.”

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, women and children 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.

“Women in Kitimat who are leaving violent situations will have the comfort of knowing their children are safe and receiving culturally rich early learning opportunities, while they focus on their next steps,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of State for Child Care. “We know that having secure child care spaces is vital for women to remain in or enter into the workforce, to pursue education and other opportunities in the community.”

The homes are a result of a partnership between the Province, through BC Housing, the District of Kitimat and the Tamitik Status of Women Association (TSW), which will operate the development.

“Through the opening of this new development, families experiencing intimate partner violence can have a safe place to go and rebuild their lives,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “With these new homes, we are taking action to ensure people have the care they need to recover and move forward on the path to healing.”

The Province partnered with the District of Kitimat to create the new child care centre, offering 60 new spaces, including 12 for children under three years, 16 for school-age children and 32 multi-age spaces. The District of Kitimat will work with Haisla Nation to ensure Indigenous culture, language and protocols are consistently incorporated, promoted and celebrated within the facility and the early learning programs.

This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 78,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including nearly 700 homes in the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District. The project also furthers B.C. work under Safe and Supported, B.C.’s gender-based violence action plan.

Quotes:

Jordana Velho, executive director, Tamitik Status of Women Association –

“TSW is incredibly excited to open these new homes to women and their children in Kitimat. As an agency that has led our local gender equality and anti-violence fields for over 45 years, we know how much of an impact these homes will have for those who are most vulnerable. This project is an opportunity for us to better serve women and their children in Kitimat for years to come.”

Phil Germuth, mayor, District of Kitimat –

“Whether for those in a vulnerable situation needing a place to live or those who need child care options so that they can get into the workforce, this facility makes a difference for people in Kitimat. This development is a testament to what can be achieved, thanks to hard work and collaboration.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, provided approximately $17 million for the project through the Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund, and will provide annual operating funding of approximately $979,000.
  • The District of Kitimat received more than $3 million through the Province’s ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund.
  • The District of Kitimat provided $471,000 toward the project and will lease the land to the non-profit operator at a nominal rate.
  • More than $12 million has gone back to parents in the Kitimat area through the Province’s affordability initiatives since the launch of ChildCareBC in 2018.  

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 British Columbians, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/

To learn more about Safe and Supported, B.C.’s gender-based violence action plan, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/services-policies-for-government/gender-equity/safe-and-supported-gender-based-violence-action-plan-december-2023.pdf

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