Women and their children in Nanaimo fleeing violence will soon have access to 47 new safe spaces as construction starts on a new transitional and second-stage housing development.
The four-storey, wood-frame building will provide 30 self-contained second-stage housing units with their own bathroom and kitchen, as well as 10 rooms with a total of 17 transition beds for short-term stays.
Three second-stage housing units and one transition room will be wheelchair accessible.
“Safe housing is fundamental for women, gender-diverse people, and their children who are reshaping their lives after experiencing violence or trauma,” Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, said in a release. “These new safe spaces will be instrumental in providing safety, security and peace of mind for families across Nanaimo.”
The housing will be operated by Haven Society, which supports adults and children leaving gender-based violence, and will replace an ageing 17-unit transition home.
Haven will transfer its services and programming to the new building once construction is finished.
The building features a communal kitchen, amenity room and expanded programming spaces. It’s also close to public parks and a public recreation centre.
Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, said these transitional spaces are important as no one should feel unsafe in their home and their community, adding too many women and gender-diverse people continue to face obstacles after leaving intimate-partner violence.
“These new transition and second-stage homes will offer much-needed support through programming and living arrangements to survivors and their children as they work to rebuild their lives in a safe and compassionate space,” Paddon said.
Transition housing provides safe, temporary shelter with supports for people who need a place to go after leaving a violent or abusive situation.
After staying in a transition house, guests can move to second-stage housing for approximately six to 18 months before moving to more permanent housing in the community.
Second-stage housing includes services to help women rebuild their independence, including support groups, system navigation and individualized assistance.
“With the rental market in Nanaimo having only a 2.2 per cent vacancy rate, finding affordable housing for women and families leaving violence is incredibly difficult. The addition of these second-stage units will help immensely in the transition from leaving abuse to finding long-term security and stability,” Daylene Jones, executive director of Haven Society, said.
Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2024.
This project is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the province.