June 14, 2021
Completed in February 2021, Q'waxsem Place is a 50-unit supportive housing building in Campbell River that provides homes for people in the community experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Located at 580 Dogwood St., the building is managed by Vancouver Island Mental Health Society. On-site support services are provided to residents, including access to life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental health resources, and addiction recovery services.
Approximately half the people in Campbell River experiencing homelessness identify as Indigenous. As a result, the City of Campbell River consulted with the Urban Indigenous Housing and Wellness Coalition on the project. The consultation process resulted in an Indigenous lens being placed on interior and exterior design, including the creation of a designated room for elders to provide support to residents and families.
The Coalition also helped facilitate naming of the site. Q'waxsem means "treehouse" in the local Kwak’wala language, reflecting the desire to create a communal and friendly atmosphere for residents.
"It was great to be part of this project, in naming and creating a home for residents that is culturally safe and designed with Indigenous voices in mind,” said Nick Chowdhury, co-chair of the Urban Indigenous Housing and Wellness Coalition.