11:47 AM

New homes with supports open in Fort St. John

FORT ST. JOHN - People at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Fort St. John have access to 42 new homes with supports now that the Northern Centre of Hope West building is open.

"These new supported homes will help people get inside and connect with the supports they need to begin to rebuild their lives," said Murray Rankin, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "Thank you to the Salvation Army for its work and I look forward to continuing to work with all our partners in Fort. St. John so we can help more people find a safe and secure place to call home."

The Province, through BC Housing, partnered with the Salvation Army to build the new modular four-storey building at 9916-99 Ave. in Fort St. John at the same site as the Northern Centre for Hope shelter operated by the Army. The new homes are close to services, amenities and transit, enabling residents to remain integrated in their community, while working to rebuild their lives.

"We are ecstatic to see this much needed facility completed and ready to support our community," said Lori Ackerman, mayor of Fort St. John. "We continue to work with our community partners to address various social issues in our community."

The new building consists of 42 studio units, including three accessible homes, all of which include a private bathroom and a mini-kitchen. The Northern Centre of Hope building also includes office space, a reception area, shared laundry, a common dining area and a commercial kitchen.

The Salvation Army will operate the new homes and provide supports including two daily meals, transportation, case planning, social supports and overdose prevention services as well as referral to health services. The new Northern Centre for Hope will also have around-the- clock staffing and will prioritize people in the community currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

"As an organization, we have always aimed to do the greatest good by supporting those in need in practical and meaningful ways," Jared Braun, executive director, Salvation Army, Fort St. John. “We are proud to partner with BC Housing to add supportive housing to our existing programs aimed to reduce homelessness. Every person deserves to have a home and the dignity that comes with being a part of a supportive community.”

The Province, through BC Housing, provided approximately $15 million from the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund for the project, and will provide approximately $1.2 million in annual operating funding.

This project is part of B.C.'s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 36,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including nearly 160 homes in Fort St. John.

Learn More:

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/