New housing set to open in Prince George means that 28 people with mental-health and addictions challenges will get the supports they need within their own homes at rental rates they can afford.
The province provided approximately $4 million to purchase and renovate the former Economy Inn Motel at 1915 – Third Avenue, to transform the building into new supportive housing geared to people with low to moderate incomes who also need health and wellness services.
“Having a supportive environment with safe, secure housing can help people stabilize and begin rebuilding their lives,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a news release. “These new homes are going to provide crucial support to people living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, and those dealing with mental-health and addictions challenges.”
Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week, the new building will be operated by the Association Advocating for Women and Community (AWAC). AWAC will provide staff and ongoing support to residents working toward greater self-sufficiency. Additional services include a meal program and access to community supports, such as life skills development, employment training, education and health supports.
“AWAC is a proud partner in this much-needed housing project,” said Connie Abe, executive director, AWAC. “These 28 new homes represent safety and security for too many who have never known it. Helping house our community’s most marginalized citizens will go a long way in helping them rebuild their lives.”
The renovated building features 28 suites with private washrooms and small kitchenettes, as well as communal dining and laundry areas.
“Council is pleased to see these new, supported homes helping the citizens of Prince George,” said Mayor Lyn Hall. “Vital, growing communities like Prince George need supportive housing projects like this one. We look forward to working with the Province of B.C. to further develop housing and services in our city.”
Residents will pay a monthly rent of $450, which is the $375 social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to people experiencing homelessness, plus $75 for cable, internet, laundry and one meal per day.
When residents are ready to move into independent housing, staff will help residents view apartments and work with landlords to support stable tenancies.
- The original two-storey motel was built in 1971.
- M’akola Development was the development consultant for the renovation project.
- Renovations included upgrades to the water service, sprinkler system and fire alarm system installation, improved lighting, roofing and a common kitchen for residents.
- According to the 2018 Homeless Count, 129 individuals in Prince George were homeless. Of these, 79 per cent are Indigenous.
- Currently, BC Housing supports 156 other housing units throughout Prince George.
- Under its new Building BC programs, the Province has committed to create an additional 105 affordable housing units in Prince George, including 50 units for Indigenous peoples and 55 units of transition housing for women.