A traditional First Nation blessing ceremony was held Friday morning at 580 Dogwood St. and kicked off a day of celebration as construction has finished on the 50-unit supportive housing development in Campbell River that will provide homes with 24/7 support for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“This housing will make a significant difference for people in Campbell River who are experiencing homelessness by getting them a chance to stabilize their lives and come inside,” David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, said in a press release. “Thanks to the leadership of communities like Campbell River, we can continue to address the need for supportive housing there and in communities throughout the province.”
The name of the building is Q’waxsem Place. Q’waxsem means “treehouse” in the local Kwakwala language, reflecting the desire to create a communal and friendly atmosphere for residents.
“It was great to be part of this project, in naming and creating a home for residents that is culturally safe and designed with Indigenous voices in mind. We are proud to have been part of this collaboration,” Nick Chowdhury, co-chair, Urban Indigenous Housing and Wellness Coalition.
A tour of the facility was held for city representative Ron Kerr, MLA Michele Babchuk and local media.
Located at 580 Dogwood St., the building will be managed by Vancouver Island Mental Health Society. It will include on-site support services to residents, including access to life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental health resources, as well as addiction recovery services.
“As an organization, we have seen a significant need for long-term supportive housing in this community, and we feel fortunate that the province and city have recognized and supported this project,” said Taryn O’Flanagan, executive director, Vancouver Island Mental Health Society.
The province provided approximately $10.4 million in construction and financing costs for the project through the Supportive Housing Fund and will provide approximately $962,000 in annual operating funding. The City of Campbell River provided the land on a long-term lease arrangement, as well as approximately $550,000 in equity contributions and waivers.
“Along with filling an immediate, urgent need for the people who will live here, the opening of Q’waxsem Place helps ensure Campbell River has a range of housing options for people in our community. Building on affordable housing that provides safety, security and wraparound supports at Q’waxsem Place, we look forward to the continued partnership with the Province and BC Housing to facilitate additional housing for the most vulnerable,” said Andy Adams, mayor, City of Campbell River.
In addition to providing supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in the community, Q’waxsem Place will house people from the 20-bed temporary bridge housing program at the former Rose Bowl Restaurant.
Residents will start moving into the building in the next few weeks.
In addition to these 50 new supportive homes, the province is working in partnership to deliver more than 80 new affordable rental homes for people in Campbell River. This includes 27 homes for people with low to moderate incomes (Linda’s Place) and 57 homes for women and children leaving violence.
“These 50 new supportive homes will give people a much-needed safe and secure home, something that everyone deserves. I would like to thank the City of Campbell River and Vancouver Island Mental Health Society for supporting our community and working with the Province to develop solutions that support people in need,” said Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island.