PENTICTON – Women and children leaving violence will soon have more safe places to regroup, recover and build a better future in the Okanagan area.
“Women and children need to know there are safe places, compassionate care, and hope when they make the decision to leave an abusive situation,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re working hard to make sure women and children have homes to provide new stable foundations on which they can rebuild their lives, homes like the ones coming soon to Penticton.”
The project is funded through the Building BC: Women's Transition Fund and will provide units for up to 36 women and children leaving violence. This fund, a $734-million investment over 10 years, will build 1,500 transition housing, second-stage housing, and long-term housing spaces for women and children leaving violence. The first round of investments will see more than 300 new homes built through 13 projects in communities throughout the province.
“All efforts to assist and improve the lives of those in need are a welcome addition to the available housing supports in Penticton,” said John Vassilaki, mayor, City of Penticton. “This particular project not only provides critical housing, it also creates access to the equally important support services that assist women and their families.”
The South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) will manage the day-to-day operations and will oversee the resident selection process. Since 1981, the society has offered women and their children a safe place to stay, along with essentials such as food, clothing and toiletries. The society offers women ongoing counselling, support and preventive education programs.
“For the first time in Penticton thanks to BC Housing, SOWINS is now able to offer permanent, safe, affordable housing to women and children,” said Debbie Scarborough, executive director, SOWINS. “SOWINS is so excited to hand over the keys to these mums and their children, who now have new, safe and affordable homes.”
Residents will receive support services, including access to health services, counselling, resumé building, interview skills and workshops, such as building healthy relationships, financial literacy and self-care.
More than 20,000 new homes are completed or underway as a result of provincial investments, including more than 2,600 new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in British Columbia. These include the following additional homes for women and children leaving violence in the Interior:
- Kamloops – Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society will operate up to 50 units of second-stage housing;
- Invermere – Family Dynamix Association will operate seven safe-home and second-stage housing units; and
- Kelowna – Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society will operate up to 50 units of second-stage and permanent affordable housing.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The BC Society of Transition Houses has worked with BC Housing on a province-wide needs assessment to help target project funding in 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.
- Women’s transition houses are staffed 24/7 and provide safe, short-term shelter and supports. A typical stay is for 30 days.
- Safe homes provide short-term shelter and supports – typically for 10 days – for women and children leaving violence, particularly in rural and remote communities.
- The Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund was launched in Budget 2018 as part of the Province’s 10-year housing plan. The housing plan outlines the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history – more than $7 billion over 10 years.
A map showing the location of all announced projects is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: https://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs
The B.C. government is working in partnerships to build affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians.
Budget 2018 included a $7 billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 20,000 new homes are completed, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people that are struggling to find a place to live, from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals.
Housing for middle-income earners (households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $150,000) – approximately 2,460 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 1,500 rental homes for people with middle incomes.
- HousingHub: 960 rental homes.
Housing for people with low to moderate incomes (including some where rents are based on 30% of household income and others with set rents, which are designed to be affordable to moderate-income households, in most cases earning less that $70,000 annually) – approximately 9,200 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 3,700 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
- Affordable Rental Housing Program: nearly 1,600 homes for low to moderate incomes.
- Deepening Affordability Fund: more than 2,100 homes for low to moderate incomes.
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: more than 1,150 homes for Indigenous peoples, on and off reserve.
- Regional Housing First Program: more than 600 homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness (shelter-rate housing) – approximately 2,800 homes:
- Rapid Response for Homelessness: more than 2,000 homes with 24/7 support.
- Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: more than 550 homes with 24/7 support.
- Regional Housing First Program: more than 170 homes for those ready to live independently with supports.
Housing for women and children leaving violence – approximately 340 homes:
- Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: approximately 340 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence.
Housing for students – approximately 5,600 homes:
- BC Student Housing Loan Program: approximately 2,700 on-campus student housing units are underway or in the approvals process.
- Nearly 2,900 student housing units are also underway or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions.
Total: approximately 20,400 homes
Ministry of Municipal Affairs