(File Photo)

In Port Alberni, construction has begun on 22 safe and secure second-stage homes for women and their children who are fleeing violence and dangerous home situations.

“We need more homes for women leaving violence to stabilize or rebuild their lives,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. 

“These homes are part of our government’s commitment to working with non-profit partners to make sure many more women and children have places to go where they can find safety and space free from violence.”

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Sage Haven Society, formerly Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society, will operate the building on behalf of the province. 

Their vision is to provide this safe, secure and nurturing environment that is free of violence. To achieve this, through the new building, they will:

  • Promote the equal status of women and educate their community on women’s issues
  • Provide shelter for women and their children in violent situations
  • Provide counselling, outreach, victim services and other supports 
  • Develop new programs and services to help build a healthy and safe community

The building being constructed will feature homes with one, two and three bedroom options for women, transgender women, Two-Spirit and non-binary people as well as their children.

“Having a safe, supportive space to call home is essential for women and their children who have faced violence and is something every British Columbian should have,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity.

“I am grateful to all those involved in making these new safe homes a reality for the people of Port Alberni, which will be life-changing for so many women and transgender, Two-Spirit and non-binary people as they build their lives in safety and stability.”

The building will be primarily for those residing in Port Alberni and surrounding areas. 

Second-stage housing provides short-term housing with on-site supports. Typically, residents will stay in these homes for anywhere from six to 24 months before finding permanent housing.

Rent is still paid by residents on a sliding-scale. 30% of their wage is calculated and that is what they pay for their accommodations and supports. 

Sage Haven Society identified a need for second-stage housing in the community, which provides short-term accommodation with on-site supports. Residents typically live in the units for six to 24 months before moving to more permanent housing. 

People receiving income assistance or disability payments pay the provincial shelter rate.

The building will be located on city-owned land which is in a long-term lease from the province. This development is able to be built through funding by BC Housing, who has provided $8.6 million to the project. 

Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund will provide the annual operating funding to the development and its operators, Sage Haven Society. 

Construction is expected to be finished by this summer. 

As with any type of transitional housing for people escaping violence, the address will not be shared to protect the safety of those who need their services. 

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