VICTORIA – The Province has partnered with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society to open 21 new supportive homes for Indigenous women who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Victoria.
“Housing is the foundation on which people build their lives, and everyone in our community deserves a safe and secure home,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “With the help of our partners, this housing with wraparound supports will provide urgently needed homes for Indigenous women in the community, surrounded by their tradition and culture.”
Located at 833 Hillside Ave., Spaken House, also known as Flower House, is a modular two-storey apartment building with 21 self-contained units, each with a private washroom and mini kitchen. Shared amenities include an office, laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area where residents can enjoy meals together. The Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society (ACEH) will operate the building and will have staff on site 24/7 to support residents.
This project is the first supportive housing of its kind in British Columbia. It provides culturally appropriate supports for Indigenous women, as well as access to teachings from Elders, traditional foods, cultural crafts and land-based healing, including programming that focuses on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. In addition, an Elder and an “Aunty” will be onsite two days per week to provide additional one-on-one support.
“Everyone at every level has done their part to make this a reality – Spaken House is beautiful,” said Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, executive director, ACEH. “The Aboriginal Coalition team will work diligently to ensure the environment is safe, builds on a sense of family and community and incorporates pathways to healing and recovery into the programming. Most importantly, we will celebrate the gifts the women bring to our Family Circle and support them in their journey through culture, crafts, healing ceremonies, family reunification, a meal program including traditional foods, empowerment workshops, Elder support and much more."
Additional unique features to Spaken House include a therapeutic garden with plants and natural medicines, which will serve as a resource for healing and well-being.
“As we prepare to enter into Spaken House, my heart feels full to have witnessed this become a reality for the women moving in soon,” said Gloria Roze, Elder, ACEH. “Our people have been needing this for a long time and I hope it leads to more amazing housing successes. I have seen land-based healing work for our people in positive and profound ways. Culturally supportive housing is a pathway for the spirit and internal growth. You feel the love when you step into Spaken.”
Atira Women’s Resource Society, an experienced non-profit housing provider, helped provide supports and training to ACEH staff in creating this unique program.
“Atira has had the absolute privilege to work with the ACEH, its dedicated executive director and amazing team, as they embark on this critically important, culturally relevant, supportive housing program for First Nations, Métis and Inuit women,” said Janice Abbott, CEO, Atira. “We are grateful for the small part we have played in making this happen and look forward to working together into the future, strengthening our relationship in support of both the ACEH and the women it serves.”
Residents will begin moving into their new homes in mid-August 2020.
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 Province provided $3.8 million to the project through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and will provide annual operating funding of approximately $997,000.
- Island-based Muchalat Group was selected by the Province to manufacture these homes and for several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.
For more information on how BC Housing is supporting British Columbians during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is 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/
Two backgrounders follow.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Services, supports provided for modular housing
All new modular housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.
The Province is providing annual operating funding to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced staff provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.
Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, include:
- on-site supports and connection to additional specialized supports in their community;
- supports that are tailored to the needs of the residents, including education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services, including mental health and addiction treatment programs;
- individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
- case planning and needs assessment;
- other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs;
- help accessing income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
- support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home; and
- free laundry services, either on or off site.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs
The B.C. government is working in partnership with non-profits, municipalities, First Nations, Indigenous housing organizations and the private sector to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.
Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 23,000 new homes are completed, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who 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. As of Dec. 31, 2019, this includes:
Housing for people with middle incomes
The average annual household income qualifying for homes underway is under $99,000 per year:
- HousingHub: 2,802 homes
Housing for people with low to moderate incomes
This includes people residing in social housing (household incomes less than $65,000) as well as those living in affordable market rentals (households with annual incomes up to $74,000) – 9,837 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (30% of units in each project): 1,565 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Affordable Rental Housing Program: 1,615 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Deepening Affordability Fund: 1,976 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Regional Housing First Program: 907 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
Social housing or subsidized rents:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (50% of units in each project): 2,609 rental homes for people with low incomes
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: 1,165 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off- reserve
Housing for people with very low incomes
Rental housing for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, or for people with very low incomes (includes supportive housing and shelter-rate housing) – 4,795 homes:
- Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,012 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: 1,060 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: 679 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (20% of units in each project): 1,044 homes
Housing for students – 5,584 homes:
- BC Student Housing Loan Program: 2,699 on-campus student housing units are under construction, in development or in the approvals process
- 2,885 student housing units are also completed, under construction or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions
Total: 23,018 homes
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing