News Local

Affordable women’s housing pitched for PoCo

By Eric MacKenzie



Stakeholders in the Tri-Cities are hopeful a proposal that the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation will view on Friday can help address a shortage of affordable housing for women in the area.

An inquiry put forward by the Atira Women’s Resource Society is calling for an 84-unit complex in Port Coquitlam that would feature a mix of shelter, housing income limit and market rates, where all leases would be in women’s names.

The complex has been earmarked for a Metro Vancouver-owned property at the intersection of Flint Street and Prairie Avenue, and the proponents are hopeful the regional district will partner on the project through the sale or long-term lease of the land “for nominal value.”

Port Coquitlam Coun. Glenn Pollock, whose pledge of support for the project will accompany the proposal on Friday, said the plan is the result of many subsidized housing advocates joining together and refining their ideas with the help of Atira, a not-for-profit organization that operates nearly 20 women’s shelters and housing facilities in Metro Vancouver.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the report put out by the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Force that identified there were 1,500 women and children turned away from housing at the two (affordable housing facilities) in the area,” said Pollock.

“It’s an identified need ... it’s in a perfect location — right on transit, right across from (École Kwayhquitlum Middle School) — so it would be a great addition to the community, I think.”

The proposal states that the development would “embrace a mix of women” who are either single, with children or younger women aging out of care, “creating a community of women who have similar life experiences such as struggles with homelessness, poverty, substance use, mental wellness and experiences of violence/abuse.” Residents would be encouraged to develop a peer-to-peer support community within the complex, says the proposal.

Plans also call for an on-site community health centre and 55- to 60-space day care.