Construction on transition housing for women and their children, at the bottom of the Dogwood hill, is expected to be complete by the end of March 2013.
The facility, to be named Rose Harbour, is in the process of being built near the corner of Dogwood Street and 12th Avenue.
The hope is to have tenants move in near the beginning of April 2013, according to Valery Puetz, executive director of the North Island Transition Society which will operate the facility.
The 27-unit, four-storey facility is aimed at helping homeless women at risk of violence and women and children who have fled from abuse, to give them the support they need.
“Rose Harbour will have a fair bit of support attached to it,” said Puetz, adding there will likely be five support workers. Each woman or family will have their own apartment unit.
“They’re all independent apartments that vary from bachelor suites to three bedrooms,” Puetz said. “There will be three three-bedrooms and three two-bedrooms, so just six of the 27 because the real need is seen as primarily being for single women. If they’re on income assistance the allotment for shelter for a single person per month is just $375. There’s not much you can rent for $375 a month.”
The facility will include onsite programs and support services for tenants, who will live at Rose Harbour on a temporary basis – two or three years as is typical for transition housing.
During their stay, support staff will help the tenants make the change they need to get back on their feet.
The $6.4 million facility is a joint project between BC Housing and the city. The B.C. government provided $6 million in construction financing and will provide an annual operating subsidy. The city donated the land, valued at $431,072.
For the Transition Society, Rose Harbour has been a long time coming. In 2008 the city and BC Housing signed a Memorandum of Understanding for what was initially to be a 30-unit, five-storey building with administration and program space on the ground floor.
But problems with the site, as well as rising construction costs, forced the project to be scaled back. But BC Housing didn’t like the concept of a 27-unit four-storey building, and wanted a 28th unit on the ground floor. The Transition Society was opposed to that as it would take away program space.
In June, BC Housing relented and agreed to the 27-unit model.