Youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Fraser Valley will soon have access to 16 new homes with supports, funded by the Province.
“Young people in our province should always have a safe and secure home,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These 16 new homes will provide the supports and care that young people who are experiencing homelessness deserve and will help them have a bright future.”
Located at 46003 Mellard Ave., the two-storey building consists of eight one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom suites, each with a private washroom, kitchen and in-suite laundry. The building has been recently renovated and has a shared kitchen, dining area, storage and amenity space, and a dedicated supportive services suite for on-site staff. Youth will begin moving in fall 2020.
People living in the building will be youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, precariously housed or transitioning out of care.
“This new housing for youth is an important step to help them achieve their dreams and build the future they want and deserve,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Ministry staff will be on hand to help youth access the resources they need and provide them with the right tools and supports so they can get back on their feet.”
Cyrus Centre, an experienced non-profit housing provider, will operate the new supportive housing and provide residents with services that include meals, clothing, advocacy, schooling, counselling and life-skills training. Many youth experiencing homelessness are leaving situations of abuse, poverty, exploitation and drugs. Cyrus Centre works to meet the individual needs of each youth, offering programs and services to guide and equip them for success and enhance their quality of life. At least two staff members will be on site 24/7.
“Cyrus Centre is thrilled with the purchase of the Mellard Avenue property and recognizes this would not have been possible without the support of BC Housing, the mayor, council and City of Chilliwack staff,” said Les Talvio, executive director, Cyrus Centre. “Once again, Chilliwack is setting the standard for other communities to follow. This property will allow for youth to overcome barriers to housing and develop the skills necessary for success.”
Residents will be identified through the Ministry of Children and Family Development or self-referred. However, they do not need to be receiving services from the ministry to qualify.
“Chilliwack’s Homelessness Action Plan first identified the need for additional supportive youth housing in 2016, recognizing that youth experiencing homelessness are some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Ken Popove, mayor, City of Chilliwack. “We are pleased to support the Province’s investment in our community and look forward to seeing the building open to its new residents.”
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government, the BC Green Party caucus and indpendent MLA Andrew Weaver, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The Province purchased the building for $3,896,500 through the Supportive Housing Fund. The City of Chilliwack provided $450,000 for the purchase.
- Youth aged 16 to 18 years can reach out to their local Ministry of Children and Family Development or Delegated Aboriginal Agency (DAA) office for information on resources and supports, such as youth agreements, to assist them in finding a place to live, learn life skills, manage mental-health issues or enroll in school.
- Young adults aged 19-27 years who have aged out of government care can connect with their local Ministry of Children and Family Development or DAA office for information on the Agreements with Young Adults program, which can help offset living costs as they attend school, rehabilitation, vocational or life-skills programs.
For more information on how BC Housing is supporting British Columbians during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19
A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC
To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/
To learn more about the supports available to youth and young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/covid-19-information/youth-young-adults-response-to-covid-19
A backgrounder follows.