Supportive housing making a difference in New Westminster

November 8th, 2011

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. – Rhoda Kaellis Residence, a supportive and transitional housing development, is positively changing the lives of people with a history of homelessness since it opened its doors nearly a year ago.

“The Government of Canada is supporting Canadians with their housing needs and is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” said Senator Yonah Martin, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “Our investment here at Rhoda Kaellis Residence is helping to increase the range of housing options available in New Westminster, making a real and lasting difference in this community.”

“For those who call it home, supportive housing developments like Rhoda Kaellis Residence offer affordable housing with onsite support services that provide a gateway to a healthier and more rewarding life,” said Harry Bloy, Minister of State for Multiculturalism. “I would like to thank our partners and especially Lookout Emergency Aid Society for the invaluable work that they do here and at other social housing developments throughout the Lower Mainland.”

Through an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Initiative Agreement, the federal government contributed $1.65 million towards the capital costs of this project and an additional contribution of $700,000, through federal homelessness funding. The Province provided financing of over $7 million and is providing annual operational funding of $732,943. The building, owned and managed by Lookout Emergency Aid Society, offers 11 apartments for short-term transitional housing and 13 semi-permanent independent apartments for people with a history of homelessness.

“Lookout has been providing solutions to homelessness for 40 years and we know what it takes to successfully transition people to more stable, healthier lifestyles and homes,” said Karen O'Shannacery, executive director, Lookout Emergency Aid Society. “I would like to thank both the governments of Canada and the Province for investing in Rhoda Kaellis Residence and also the City of New Westminster for supporting the project and helping us to change people’s lives.”

In 2008, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help the homeless. As part of this investment, the Affordable Housing Initiative and the federal renovation programs for low-income households were extended for two years, which represented some $60 million in federal funding for B.C. Canada's Economic Action Plan built on this with an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years for the construction of new and the renovation of existing social housing. For B.C., this represented a further $150 million. The Action Plan also provided $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

A new agreement signed recently by both the federal and provincial governments confirm B.C.’s allocation of the remaining three years of the $1.9 billion, which amounts to a further $90 million in federal funding for British Columbians in housing need. With the provincial contribution of $90 million in matching funds, there is a combined investment of $180 million to support housing programs and services that help B.C. residents access safe, affordable housing.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada. The HPS took effect April 1, 2007, with annual funding of $134.8 million for two years. In September 2008, the Government committed to investing more than $1.9 billion in housing and homelessness programs over five years, until March 2014. This includes a renewal of the HPS until March 2014.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642, or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan. For more information on this and other measures in Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit: www.actionplan.gc.ca.

The Province of British Columbia $14-billion capital infrastructure program is creating up to 88,000 jobs, building vital public infrastructure and stimulating local economies across the province.

Over the last decade, the Province has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 95,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services. Visit www.bchousing.org to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.


                                                                                                BACKGROUNDER  

                                                                                             Rhoda Kaellis Residence 

Rhoda Kaellis Residence, located at 1105 Royal Ave. in New Westminster, is a four-storey wood-frame building with a total of 24 apartments of supportive housing for men and women with a history of homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse. The building is LEED Gold certified as part of the Province’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Residents of the 11 transitional apartments receive housing with integrated support services for up to two years. The remaining 13 affordable apartments will be permanent independent housing for individuals moving from transitional housing. The ground floor includes a library, multi-purpose room, lounge, community kitchen and reception office.

The building was named in honour of Rhoda Kaellis, a strong community activist known for her determined efforts to eliminate homelessness and advocacy for affordable housing in New Westminster.

Partners and Funding

The capital cost of this project is approximately $9.4 million.

  • The Government of Canada, through Phase II of the Affordable Housing Agreement, provided a $1,650,000 grant and a contribution of $700,000, through federal homelessness funding for the land.
  • The Province of British Columbia provided financing of $7,080,314.
Operational funding

  • The Province of British Columbia is providing $732,943 in annual operational funding.
Lookout Emergency Aid Society

Established in 1971, Lookout Emergency Aid Society is a non-profit, charitable organization, providing services to adult men and women. Their clients may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and may also face a wide variety of challenges including mental-health issues, physical disabilities, social dysfunctions and substance abuse. Lookout Emergency Aid Society provides services through their emergency shelters, transitional and supportive housing and community services.

The society operates 22 programs at 14 sites located in three municipalities: Vancouver, New Westminster and the North Shore.

Media Contacts:

Rhonda Nguyen
BC Housing
604 439-4740

Valerie Rosenthal
CMHC BC Region
604 737-4123
604 202-2609

Alyson Queen
Office of Minister Finley
819 994-2482