New Kitimat homes provide safe housing for women and children
KITIMAT - Women and children leaving violence will soon have access to safe and secure homes as construction begins on a 44-unit housing development in Kitimat.
The project is a partnership between the Province, through BC Housing, the federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the District of Kitimat and the Tamitik Status of Women Association.
"We're grateful to have many community partners like the Tamitik Status of Women Association who are committed to delivering safe, affordable housing with supports for vulnerable people seeking a new start," said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. "Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and to be able to live a life free from violence, and I know these 44 homes will change the lives of their residents."
The new four-storey building will include 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.
The transition house and second-stage housing will provide short-term accommodation with on-site supports for women leaving violence, including transgender women, non-binary and Two- Spirit people, and their dependent children. The development will provide women and their children the opportunity to seamlessly move from the transition house spaces into the second-stage units and affordable townhomes.
The District of Kitimat, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Child Care and Haisla Nation, is developing a 24-hour child care facility on the same site.
"Child care is an important support as women start to rebuild their lives," said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. "Access to safe, high-quality child care will not only give these women peace of mind knowing their children are well cared for, it enables them to pursue education, training or other opportunities. Ensuring child care is available is one less barrier to a new start."
The Tamitik Status of Women Association will operate the new development and will provide on-site support services such as safety planning, crisis intervention, parenting support and tenancy skills.
Rent for the second-stage housing and townhomes will be calculated at 30% of residents' income or the provincial shelter rate for people receiving income or disability assistance. Since transition house spaces provide an immediate safe space for women to start rebuilding their lives, people using those spaces will not have to pay rent.
The project is one component of a multi-year action plan to end gender-based violence being developed by the Ministry of Finance's Gender Equity Office and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Government undertook focused engagement this year to inform the plan's ongoing development.
The development is part of B.C.'s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded nearly 34,000 affordable homes that are either complete or underway, including nearly 350 homes in the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District.
Phil Germuth, mayor, District of Kitimat -
"The District of Kitimat is proud of its support and to see this housing become a reality. This development means a safer community for our residents who need that support the most. The on-site daycare at this facility will also provide an immense benefit to our local families and will support our residents' ability to work in the community."
Michelle Martins, executive director, Tamitik Status of Women Association (TSW) -
"To say TSW is thrilled to see our project come to fruition is an understatement. There aren't words to describe what this project means to us, not only as an agency that has led our local gender equality and anti-violence sectors for over 45 years, but also as women who live by the credo of women supporting women. This project is a testament to what is possible when we open our hearts and minds to helping others. The need for safe and affordable housing for women and their children has always existed in Kitimat, whether it's been apparent or not. This project presents the opportunity for TSW to better serve our clientele and we cannot wait to welcome those who need it into the safe space we've been carefully curating for years."
- The Province, through BC Housing, is providing approximately $17 million to the project through the Building BC: Women's Transition Housing Fund and will also provide annual operating funding.
- The District of Kitimat is providing $471,000 and will lease the land, valued at $244,000, at a nominal rate.
- The federal government, through CMHC, is providing $25,000 in seed funding.
- Vancity is contributing $15,000 to the project.
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/