Stakeholders working to end homelessness in Victoria are celebrating the completion of renovations at Queens Manor, a former motel now providing 36 affordable and supportive apartments to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
"Our Government is supporting Canadians with housing needs and is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty," said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. "This facility will help ensure that vulnerable individuals in Victoria can access the housing they need."
"Queens Manor is a tangible example of how we are creating solutions to help end homelessness in Victoria," said Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. "These 36 new apartments are more than just a roof overhead - they represent the hope for a brighter and healthier future."
Funding for the $5.5-million project is as follows:
- The Government of Canada provided $864,000 through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program Conversion (RRAP- C) and $600,000 through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).
- The government of B.C. will provide up to $2.9 million for the purchase and renovation of the building. The B.C. government will also provide an annual operating subsidy of $548,330.
- The City of Victoria provided $360,000 through the Victoria Housing Trust Fund.
- The Capital Regional District provided $600,000 through their Housing Trust Fund.
- The United Way of Greater Victoria provided $150,000.
"By working with our partners to create housing options that support people who are most in need, we are making this community a better place for everyone," said Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin. "This is why our city has made it a priority to develop projects such as Queens Manor and why we remain committed to ending homelessness in the Capital Region."
The City of Victoria purchased the former Traveller's Inn Motel in July 2010 to preserve affordable rental housing stock for low-income individuals. The B.C. government will purchase the building from the city in order for it to become part of the provincial housing stock.
"At the Capital Regional District we believe that access to housing is the cornerstone of a healthy community," said Paul Gerrard, chairman, Regional Housing Trust Fund Commission, Capital Regional District. "This is why we are committed to working with communities and government to ensure funding for projects, such as Queens Manor, that will contribute to the betterment of our society."
"A key challenge in the Capital Regional District is housing for people who are homeless and who struggle with unsafe and inadequate housing," said Linda Hughes, CEO, United Way of Greater Victoria. "United Way of Greater Victoria is pleased to play a part in supporting organizations that work diligently to prepare and support people to find and maintain housing that meet their unique circumstances."
The building underwent significant renovations including a new boiler, new kitchenettes in every suite, new flooring, laundry facilities, improved lighting, new fire suppression, new exterior doors, paint inside and outside and additional cosmetic upgrades. Renovations were completed one floor at a time to keep as many residents housed at Queens Manor as possible and, when necessary, tenants were found interim housing.
Queens Manor provides supportive housing for individuals who have had a difficult time establishing or maintaining tenancy and will act as the first step back into permanent housing. All agencies involved are partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, a collaboration of local service providers, non-profit organizations, all levels of government, businesses and the faith community in Greater Victoria. The building is managed and operated by Victoria Cool Aid Society.
"It takes many partners working together to effectively help end homelessness," said Kathy Stinson, executive director, Victoria Cool Aid Society. "I'd like to thank all the partners who came together to make Queens Manor possible. This important development takes our community one step closer to ensuring that everyone in Victoria has a home."
The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 605,000 households living in existing social housing. In British Columbia, this represents some 68,650 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit: www.cmhc.ca
HPS is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada. For more information on the HPS and the seven funding streams, please visit: www.hrsdc.gc.ca/homelessness
Since 2001, the government of B.C. has invested $3.2 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services. To find out more, visit: www.bchousing.org
Office of Minister Finley
City of Victoria
250 217-8343 (cell)