Construction on a new 32-unit supportive housing project on Elliott Street is expected to be complete one year from now.
Safe and secure homes are on the way for people experiencing homelessness, as construction begins on a new supportive housing project in Quesnel.
“Supportive housing has a powerful impact on the people who call it home and supports the overall health of the community,” Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a July 11 press release. “These homes are more than a roof and a bed. We’re proud to work with community partners to provide a new start for people experiencing homelessness.”
The 32 new supportive homes in the three-storey building at 355 Elliott St. will be self-contained, with private bathrooms and kitchens.
The Quesnel Shelter and Support Society will provide 24-hour service to help residents transition to independence and recovery through life and social skills training, as well as access to community services and support groups.
Residents will also have a meal program with a community kitchen and activities that include cultural programming.
“Everyone needs a home,” Melanie McDonald, executive director of the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society, said in the release. “We’re proud to help create safe, supportive homes for our community’s most vulnerable. It’s amazing to see how lives can change for the better with a safe place to stay, regular meals and wellness support.”
The housing will contain up to 32 studio homes, a common dining area, commercial kitchen, amenity spaces and programming space. Each home is furnished and includes a three-piece bathroom and kitchenette.
There is also a secure storage area for bikes and personal possessions.
Four of the homes will be support recovery units, funded and managed by Northern Health. Support services will be provided to residents with addiction issues who have either completed a primary withdrawal management program, are waiting for treatment or are ready to integrate back to the community.
Priority for the new housing would be given to Quesnel residents who meet the eligibility criteria, according to the press release. BC Housing and Quesnel Shelter and Support Society would lead the resident selection process, in collaboration with local service providers. All new residents would pay rent and sign a program agreement and good neighbour agreement.
A community advisory committee would be developed to support the successful integration of the new building and residents into the community, with representation from BC Housing, the City of Quesnel, the RCMP, local businesses, community organizations and community members.
“There is a critical need for supportive housing in Quesnel,” Mayor Bob Simpson said in the release. “This project will provide homes and supportive services to the people in our community who need it.”
Construction of this project is expected to be complete by July 2020.
The provincial government provided approximately $9 million in capital and construction funding to develop this housing project. The Province will also provide annual operating funding.
According to the press release, the provincial government will work closely with the City of Quesnel to identify a location for a new shelter site. In the meantime, the emergency shelter at 146 Carson Ave. will remain open until the new site is operational, and the Quesnel Shelter and Support Society will continue to operate this shelter.
The B.C. government is also addressing the need for more affordable housing for Indigenous people in Quesnel, with 27 homes underway through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, according to the press release.