Women and children fleeing violence in Prince George will soon have more places to go for safety and starting the journey to a happier life.
MLA Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity as well as the City of Prince George, BC Housing and District Elizabeth Fry Housing Society announced today (Feb. 1) that new housing development will be coming to Prince George.
The development itself will include 18 transition house beds, 16 units of second-stage housing and 21 townhouses for permanent affordable housing for women and their children who are leaving violent relationships.
Funding is through the Building BC: Women's Transition Fund which is a $734-million investment over a period of 10 years to build 1,500 transition housing, second-stage housing and long-term housing spaces for women and children fleeing from violence.
The government says the first step of this funding will build a total of 280 homes through 12 projects in numerous communities across B.C.
"We have a clear responsibility to help women and children in need in Prince George and around the province. Our government is working hard to make sure that help is always available," Dean says. "These new homes in Prince George will assure women and children in violent situations that there are safe and supportive spaces they can turn to and begin the journey of rebuilding."
The Elizabeth Fry Housing Society will be in charge of the day-to-day operations and oversee a tenant selection process for housing. The society has been serving women and children since 1979.
Amber House and Eagle's Nest are the current transition houses that provide first contact, women-centred services and referrals to resources within the community.
"All too often, women are faced with barriers such as poverty and homelessness in their journey to find their way to a safe life with their children," Kathi Heim, executive director, Prince George and District Elizabeth Fry Society and Housing Society says. "This provincial initiative will provide women and their children the full continuum of affordable housing supports where they can take the time to rebuild a safer life and future. We are proud to partner with the Government of B.C. and the City of Prince George to provide a stronger, more comprehensive response to the needs of women and their children leaving domestic violence and abuse."
Some proposed support services include helping women achieve goals and develop the necessary skills to live independently. This may include:
- Individual and group counselling
- Resources to services such as employment readiness training
- Workshops about building healthy relationships, financial literacy, self-care and others
"On behalf of city council, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the B.C. government for this important investment in the health and well-being of vulnerable women and children in Prince George," Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall says. "The city is pleased to be providing land at below-market value as part of this partnership as well as reduced development cost charges and other benefits. This is another great example of how different levels of government can collaborate and achieve great things for the benefit of residents. Council also wishes to acknowledge and thank the Elizabeth Fry Society for the critical role it plays in our community."
.@Lynhallpg also speaking to the importance of transition housing for women and children fleeing violence, thanking @BC_Housing and @CityofPG and @BCGovNews #cityofpg #bcgov #northernbc @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/iIi9xtigCa— Jess Fedigan (@jfediganpgm) February 1, 2019
Other quick facts include:
- Safe homes provide safe, short-term shelter and supports, typically for 10 days, for women and children leaving violence in rural and remote communities
- Second-stage housing provides safe short-term housing and supports for women after they leave an abusive relationship or situation. Women can stay for six to 18 months while they prepare for independent living
- The Building BC: Women's Transition Housing Fund was launched in Budget 2018 as part of the Province's 30-point housing plan. The plan outlines the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.'s history - more than $7 billion over 10 years
Construction is currently slated to begin in the fall of 2019.