(File Photo)

The Westshore will be the new home of 50 transitional houses meant for women and children escaping violent situations and domestic abuse.

Construction has begun on the houses made possible by the province, through BC Housing and the Victoria Women’s Transition House Society (VWTHS).

“These homes will allow women and children on the Westshore, to find a safe haven where they can begin to rebuild their lives with the supports and services they need,” said Premier John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. 

“Our government is committed to helping survivors by building safer, more supportive communities, free of abuse and violence.”

The building will be four-storeys and it will include two first-stage transitional spaces and 48 second-stage spaces. These spaces will be made available to women, transgender women, Two-Spirit, non-bianary and gender-diverse people, along with any children they may have in their care on the Westshore and surrounding areas. 

For those who need these spaces, they will be provided with accommodation and on-site support to help them plan their next steps. 

Guests requiring short-term accommodation will be able to stay up to 30 days. Second-stage guests will stay between six months and two years while working with on-site supporters to find more permanent housing.

The building will be operated fully by VWTHS. They will also provide all on-site support like safety planning, parenting support, tenancy resources and crisis intervention.

The transitional spaces will be utilized to move the women seamlessly into the second-stage units.

“This new project will provide 50 units of safe housing for families and offer essential support services to help women and children recover from the trauma and upheaval in their lives,” said Makenna Rielly, executive director, VWTHS. 

“Victoria Women’s Transition House is thrilled with this new initiative in our community.”

The second-stage housing will be paid units by guests who require them. The price will not be fixed though. It will be calculated as 30% of the tenant’s monthly income, or the provincial shelter rate for guests receiving income or disability assistance.

The two first-stage units will not require payment as they are meant to be safe spaces for vulnerable guests to begin rebuilding their lives.

The address of the building is not to be shared, as it could be harmful to those who need VWTHS’ services.

The province’s BC Housing provided $23.6 million to the project through an initiative of theirs called, Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund, and will provide annual operating funding.

“Our government is committed to ensuring everyone – including women, gender-diverse, transgender, Two-Spirit and non-binary people – feels safe in their home and their community,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. 

“This new project is an essential step to creating safer, more supportive communities and ensuring survivors have the support they need to rebuild their lives.”

This new development also falls under the umbrella of BC’s $7 billion housing strategy. 

Since 2017, BC has funded 36,000 affordable homes including 230 on the Westshore. 

Construction is expected to be finished by autumn of 2024.