Safe, new homes on way for women, children in Port Alberni
PORT ALBERNI - Construction is underway on 22 safe and secure second-stage homes in Port Alberni for women and their children leaving violence.
"We need more homes for women leaving violence to stabilize or rebuild their lives," said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. "These homes are part of our government's commitment to working with non-profit partners to make sure many more women and children have places to go where they can find safety and space free from violence."
Sage Haven (formerly Alberni Community and Women's Services Society) will operate the new building. It will provide studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes for women and gender- diverse people leaving violence, including transgender women, Two-Spirit and non-binary people, and their dependent children in Port Alberni and surrounding areas.
Sage Haven identified a need for second-stage housing in the community, which provides short-term accommodation with on-site supports. Residents typically live in the units for six to 24 months before moving to more permanent housing.
Through Sage Haven, tenants will be offered on-site support services, such as safety planning, crisis intervention, parenting support and tenancy resources. Rent will be calculated at 30% of residents' income or the provincial shelter rate for those who are receiving income or disability assistance.
The property will be built on land owned by the City of Port Alberni, which has entered into a long-term lease with the Province, through BC Housing, to enable this development.
Construction is expected to be complete in summer 2023.
The project is one component of a multi-year action plan being developed by the Ministry of Finance's Gender Equity Office and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to help end gender-based violence. Government undertook engagement in 2022 to help the plan's ongoing development.
The development is also part of B.C.'s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 36,000 affordable homes that are either complete or underway, including 365 homes in Port Alberni.
Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity -
“Having a safe, supportive space to call home is essential for women and their children who have faced violence and is something every British Columbian should have. I am grateful to all those involved in making these new safe homes a reality for the people of Port Alberni, which will be life-changing for so many women and transgender, Two-Spirit and non-binary people as they build their lives in safety and stability.”
Sharie Minions, mayor, Port Alberni -
"On behalf of council for the City of Port Alberni, I thank the Province for another significant investment in our community. We also wish to thank project partners Sage Haven Society and BC Housing for their dedication and commitment to create this space for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Creating a safe place where women and children are able to receive the supports needed is an important component of a safe and supportive community."
Ellen Frood, executive director, Sage Haven -
"This is a great moment for Port Alberni. On behalf of our board, we are honoured to be involved in such a meaningful project. From the initial concept to planning and construction now underway, it is exceptional to see the amount of support and collaboration that Sage Haven has had working in partnership with BC Housing and having the full support of the City of Port Alberni. This initiative will ensure that many women and children leaving domestic violence have a safe and connected space to be."
- The Province, through BC Housing, is providing approximately $8.6 million to the project through the Building BC: Women's Transition Housing Fund and will provide annual operating funding.
- As with all projects for women and children leaving violence, the address of this project has not been disclosed for safety reasons.
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/