B.C., Canada opening supportive housing in capital region
VICTORIA - More than 135 people experiencing homelessness in the Greater Victoria area now have new homes with supports as three new projects open in the region.
The first project, House of Courage, is located at 865 Catherine St. It will provide 45 homes for Indigenous Peoples experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The four-storey, purpose-built modular supportive housing building will be operated by the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society (ACEHS). Residents will benefit from around-the-clock on-site staff support, including daily meal services, employment and life-skills programming, health and wellness services, and culturally appropriate supports.
“Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Ahmed Hussen, federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. “The opening of House of Courage signifies another critical step toward providing safe and affordable homes for all Canadians. With the support of the Rapid Housing Initiative, these three projects will provide new affordable homes to more than 130 people facing homelessness in the Capital Regional District. All three initiatives are a testament to our government’s commitment to leave no Canadian behind. This is the National Housing Strategy at work.”
The Province, through BC Housing, provided $5.7 million to the House of Courage project through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund. The Capital Regional District provided $11.3 million through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).
“Everyone in B.C. should have a safe place to call home, and we know that outcomes are better for Indigenous people in culturally safe, supportive environments,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s Minister of Housing. “With the opening of House of Courage, more people will be able to live in a safe environment and access the services they need on their road to recovery. Working with Indigenous partners, we will continue to build the housing that people need all across our province.”
Delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS), RHI provides capital contributions to develop new, permanent affordable homes. RHI contributions cover costs to facilitate the rapid construction of new housing and/or the acquisition of existing buildings for the purpose of rehabilitating or converting them to permanent affordable, supportive or transitional housing.
The RHI is supporting two other projects for people experiencing homelessness in the Capital Regional District that are opening soon:
- 2933, 2941 and 2949 Albina St., Saanich: 52 new homes with supports, opening in April 2023; and
- 7606 E. Saanich Rd. (formerly 1909 Prosser Rd.), Central Saanich: 39 new homes with supports, opening in spring 2023.
The B.C. government is supporting the three projects with Supportive Housing Fund grants and annual operating funding.
These projects are part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 40,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including more than 3,000 in Victoria and more than 5,000 in the Greater Victoria region.
Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“The need for supportive housing in Victoria has reached a critical level. These 135 new modular homes will provide vulnerable members of our community with an affordable and safe place to call home, while accessing the support services that they need.”
Taleeb Noormohamed, MP for Vancouver Granville –
“It is our obligation to extend a helping hand to those in need. By providing safe and secure housing, our government is providing opportunities for these residents to thrive, which also strengthens the fabric of our society. When we lift up our most vulnerable, we all benefit. We must continue to prioritize and invest in programs that assist those in need and ensure that no one is left behind. I am proud to see the opening of House of Courage and the other two projects in the Capital Regional District, as it reaffirms our commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive society.”
Zac de Vries, board director, CRD, and chair, Capital Regional Housing Corporation –
“With the opening of House of Courage in Victoria, organizations like the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness are better able to assist those struggling to maintain their housing and achieve lasting stability and a long-term recovery from homelessness. Projects like this, which are essential to addressing the region’s housing crisis, are only possible through the ongoing and effective collaborations between local, provincial and federal partners.”
Marianne Alto, mayor of Victoria –
“For Indigenous people at risk of homelessness in the region, these new homes will provide dignity, safety and the opportunity to build secure and stable lives. This project is a testament to the collaborative approach that is needed across all levels of government to address the housing crisis in Victoria. It shows what is possible when we work together to prioritize health, recovery, culture and inclusivity.”
Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, executive director, Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society –
“We are honored to do our work on Songhees and Esquimalt Nation territories. We are thankful that this day has come when we can open our doors to our supporters, neighbours, staff and, most importantly, the family members, those who will live, love, strengthen their spirits, find safety, connection to Elders and Knowledge Keepers, as well as healing through decolonized harm reduction deeply rooted in land-based healing.”
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/
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online at: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
For more information about CMHC, visit: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/
To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit: www.placetocallhome.ca
A backgrounder follows.
Facts about the Rapid Housing Initiative, National Housing Strategy
- The Rapid Housing Initiative's (RHI) objective is to quickly create new permanent affordable housing units that support people who are vulnerable and prioritized under the National Housing Strategy.
- Through Budget 2022, the Government of Canada is investing an additional $1.5 billion over two years, starting in 2022-23 to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) which is expected to create up to 4,500 new affordable housing units, with at least 25% of funding going towards women-focused housing projects.
- This initiative was originally announced on Sept. 21, 2020, with a budget of $1 billion.
- Round 2 was announced June 30, 2021, with a budget of $1.5 billion.
- Round 3 was announced on Nov. 10, 2022.
- The Government of Canada’s additional investment of $1.5 billion through RHI brings the program’s total to $4 billion to support the country’s most vulnerable.
- The Government of Canada’s 2022 budget announced an additional investment of $1.5 billion for a third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI).
- This new funding will create up to 4,500 new affordable housing units, with at least 25% of funding going towards women-focused projects.
- This brings the total investment in RHI to $4 billion, which will yield nearly 15,000 homes in total for people who need them most in this country.
- Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is a 10-year, $82-billion-plus plan that will give more Canadians a place to call home.
- NHS is built on strong partnerships between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and continuous engagement with others, including municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private housing sectors.
- This includes consultations with Canadians from all walks of life, and people with lived experience of housing need.
- All NHS investments delivered by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments will respect the key principles of NHS that support partnerships, people, and communities.