BC Legislature
(File photo)

The B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has announced that the provincial government is building 280 new safe spaces for women and children fleeing violence, and 50 of those will be on Vancouver Island.

Langford, Port Alberni, and Nanaimo will all be receiving new housing units for women and children in need. Langford and Port Alberni will be adding 20 new units each, while Nanaimo will be opening 10 new beds in their transitional house.

Women’s transitions houses are safe, 24/7 shelters that support women and children who are experiencing or at-risk of violence. The houses are fully staffed, and visitors are allowed to stay for roughly 30 days.

“In a province that puts people first, we need to make sure women and children can find safety when they need it most,” said Premier John Horgan in a news release. “These homes will allow women and children to heal with the supports and services they need, as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives.”

The houses are part of the province’s new ‘Building B.C.: Women’s Transition Housing Fund’, which is a $374 million investment that plans to bring 1,500 safe spaces for women and children in the next 10 years. The fund is the largest investment into transitional housing that B.C. has had in over twenty years.

“These first projects will make a tremendous impact in the lives of women and children who need our help,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in the same release. “For too long, a lack of investment has meant women and children looking for help at a desperate time have found themselves with nowhere to turn. This cannot continue. These homes are just the beginning of those to come over the next 10 years, as we work with non-profit partners to ensure more women and children have safe places to regroup, rebuild and reclaim their lives.”

The new spaces will be operated by local non-profit providers, and will offer a variety of programs like emotional support and safety planning. Projects are also in place that will help women and children transition into affordable rental housing when they are ready to move to a more permanent home.

The new transitional homes are also part of the province’s 30 point plan to grapple with affordable housing in B.C.

The Women’s Transition Housing Fund sits alongside three other provincial housing funds: the Community Housing Fund, the Indigenous Housing Fund, and the Supportive Housing Fund.