Indigenous Elders and seniors experiencing or at risk of homelessness will soon begin moving into 35 new homes with supports as part of a new multi-phase rental housing development in Prince George.
“This is the latest stage of an important project for Indigenous families and individuals in Prince George,” said Murray Rankin, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “With the opening of this building, Elders and seniors at risk of homelessness in Prince George will have the security and peace of mind that comes with having a home with the supports they need to stabilize their lives.”
This is the second stage of the project at 1919 17th Ave., which is a partnership between the Province and the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George (AHSPG). It consists of a three-storey building with 35 accessible studio units. AHSPG will operate the units, with rent offered at the provincial shelter rate of $375 per month. The first of this four-phase housing development opened in March 2022 and provided 50 affordable rental homes for Indigenous Elders, seniors, families and individuals.
“Today is a very special occasion. It has been the society's vision for more than a few years. There were many different people involved, such as previous board members and executive directors,” said Ruby Baptiste, board president, AHSPG. “I am grateful to everyone for seeing this vision through to today. This project is going to affordably house many community members and makes a small dent in homelessness.”
On-site staff will provide support services to residents, including daily meals, life skills and employment training, as well as referrals to health care and other services. Residents will also soon have access to community and culturally appropriate programming through the AHSPG’s future community centre. The location of these homes is ideal for seniors; public transportation, amenities and commercial services are within walking distance.
Coinciding with the opening of this stage is an on-site child-care centre with 40 spaces, funded by $1.5 million from the Province’s ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund. The remaining two phases are in the design and development stages.
“This project is another example of how we are working across government to integrate child care into new developments to conveniently co-locate child care where people live,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “We are helping to create 40 more child care spaces as part of our efforts to build a future where affordable, inclusive and quality child care is a core service that families can rely on.”
Adorning the buildings are murals by local Indigenous artists Trevor Angus and Damian John. The artwork is a celebration of Indigenous culture and history, helping create a culturally appropriate space for residents of the development.
The Province, through BC Housing, invested approximately $11.45 million toward the project through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, and will provide approximately $1.18 million in annual operating funding.
This project is part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 36,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway, including approximately 350 in Prince George.
Lyn Hall, mayor, Prince George –
“This new housing development is a much-needed addition to our city. There is nothing more fundamental to quality of life and good health than secure housing. Congratulations to the Province of B.C. and the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George on their partnership to build this project for Indigenous Elders and seniors in Prince George.”
Dolleen Logan, Chief, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation –
“We are very pleased that 35 new homes are now available to accommodate Indigenous Elders and seniors experiencing or at risk of homelessness in our unceded territory and Prince George. We are also delighted that this new housing project comes with on-site staff to provide support services to residents. It is one thing to have a place to call home but the quality of life improves immensely for Indigenous Elders and seniors when there is someone available to provide a helping hand when required.”
Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association –
“The importance of these units for the urban Indigenous Peoples in Prince George can’t be overstated. The need for culturally appropriate housing with wraparound services has never been greater. Elders, families, individuals have all been at risk of homelessness for too long and this is a step toward reconciliation.”
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/