Housing minister Ravi Kahlon (centre, wearing tie) came to Quesnel to tour Stepping Stone with some of the project's many local supporters. Left to right are Quesnel councillor Scott Elliott, BC Housing CEO Vincent Tong, Kahlon, Quesnel mayor Ron Paull, a Stepping Stone representative, and councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg. (Tracey Roberts photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Gov minister takes a step on Quesnel stones

Housing minister Ravi Kahlon toured new downtown facility

There’s a new roof over the heads of some Quesnel people who were struggling to have a safe, proper home. The not-for-profit organization Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society has been building homes for the residentially insecure since 1986, and this week the Minister of Housing came in person to tour their latest project, the Stepping Stone building.

“I had the opportunity to tour the newly opened affordable housing in Quesnel, and it was wonderful to see people coming in and out of their new homes,” said minister Ravi Kahlon. “The Stepping Stone building offers 26 affordable rental homes for Indigenous elders, couples, and individuals living with disabilities. The building also includes culturally specific amenities that are helpful in the daily lives of the tenants.”

Prior to 2023, the society had built 38 housing units downtown. Their initiatives operate in partnership with others, such as 33 housing units under the Urban Native Housing Program, 31 units under BC Housing’s Affordable Housing Programs, and 28 others under the Rural and Native Housing Program. They are also the operating managers of the 30-unit Silver Manor in conjunction with BC Housing and the Quesnel Lions Housing Society.

There are other programs and services as well, provided by Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society.

Stepping Stone is a three-storey building at 109 Bowron Ave. The building consists of 26 one-bedroom units, including three accessible and 14 adaptable homes. Residents started moving in as of January, and it was fully operational as of April.

“Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society is very excited to have opened Stepping Stone,” said Luanne Ruotsalainen, executive director, DQCHS. “We offer supports to our tenants so they can continue to live a clean and sober lifestyle. There is also Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous groups run out of the building to further support tenants.”

The Province, through BC Housing, provided a $5.5-million grant from the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund for the project, and will provide approximately $347,000 in annual operating funding. DQCHS providing equity and the land for the project, totalling approximately $639,000.

“Our government understands the critical need for better housing options for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia,” said Kahlon. “Working with Dakelh & Quesnel Community Housing Society, the Stepping Stone building is one way we are addressing the immediate housing needs of Quesnel, and help people stay in their home community, close to family, culture, and traditions. We are looking forward to opening more projects like this and building on our work in Quesnel, where we have opened or started construction on 156 new homes since 2017.”

READ MORE: Offering a Stepping Stone to affordable housing in Quesnel

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Housing and HomelessnessQuesnel