Women and their children at risk of homelessness in Surrey now have access to new housing and supportive services thanks to today's grand opening of the completed $17.9-million Maxxine Wright Centre.
"It's important to help women regain their confidence and independence so they can build a better future for themselves and their children," said Premier Christy Clark. "This housing will support these women at risk and reflects our commitment to helping families. I know that many lives will be changed by the staff at Maxxine Wright and the services they offer to women in our community."
Today's grand opening marks the completion of the second and final phase of the facility, which includes 24 units of transitional housing for women. Phase two was completed in April, 2010, and includes 12 short-term shelter beds, a 59-space child care centre for residents and families in the community, a pre and postnatal clinic and a community kitchen.
"Safe and affordable housing for all members of the community is a priority for the Province," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing. "I've watched this development from the day it broke ground to completion and it's wonderful to see that it is already making a difference for single mothers and their children."
The Province provided $14 million in funding for the facility, including a $500,000 grant, $11.9 million in construction financing and a $1.6-million capital grant for the child care centre. The City of Surrey provided $1 million, through the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund. Atira Women's Resource Society provided $1.2 million in mortgage financing and land equity valued at $272,651.
"Today's opening of Maxxine Wright Centre demonstrates that when different levels of government partner with community organizations, we can make a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens," said Mayor Dianne Watts, City of Surrey. "This centre is helping to create a healthier more inclusive city by providing safe, stable housing solutions."
Operated by Atira Women's Resource Society with $1.4 million in annual operating funding from the Province, support services at the centre include: assistance with housing, employment training, life skills training and access to physical and mental health services. Support staff work closely with the women to develop personal action plans to help them achieve their goals.
"We are grateful to all of the many partners who helped to make Maxxine Wright Centre a reality," said Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira Women's Resource Society. "Women and children are already benefiting from the services provided in these two buildings and this wouldn't be possible without everyone who came together to make it happen."
Visit www.bchousing.org to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.
ATIRA WOMEN'S RESOURCE SOCIETY
Incorporated in 1983, Atira Women's Resource Society is a not-for-profit organization committed to the work of ending violence against women. The society provides direct service as well as increased awareness and education around the scope and impact on our communities of men's violence against women and children.
The Atira Women's Resource Society manages 14 different housing developments, and a number of related support programs including counselling, legal advocacy, a self-employment initiative, a community kitchen and a variety of projects and workshops.
SURREY HOMELESSNESS HOUSING FUND
The City of Surrey established the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund, the first of its kind in B.C., in 2007 and has provided close to $10 million to the Fund. The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society has managed and distributed the fund and participated in community development initiatives that are intended to reduce homelessness and increase access to affordable housing for Surrey residents.
With a tagline of 'Grow, Grant and Lead', the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society has a vision where 'Everyone has a Home', and a mission to raise, manage and distribute funds to support programs, projects and initiatives to make a difference in the lives of people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in Surrey.
City of Surrey