FORT ST. JOHN – B.C. and the Salvation Army have joined forces to build 42 new supportive homes for struggling residents of Fort St. John, B.C.
“When people have a safe and secure home, they can access things like health care and skills training to help them make a fresh start,” said David Eby, housing minister, in a statement. “Thank you to the Salvation Army for working with us to make sure more vulnerable people in Fort St. John have a place to call home.”
The project site is on BC Housing-owned property and would include a four-storey building with 42 homes, office space, laundry facilities, a dining area and a commercial kitchen. Each unit would include a private bathroom, kitchenette and storage for residents.
The Salvation Army would operate the building 24/7 and provide support services for each resident. A minimum of two staff would be onsite at all times to provide daily meals, mentorship and skills building, and provide a connection to volunteer or employment opportunities. There is also a space in the building for residents to meet with social workers, address private health issues and hygiene care.
“As a community-minded organization with a strong history in Fort St. John, we look forward to building on our experience,” said Jared Braun, executive director, Salvation Army. “Because of the expertise of our staff, the collaboration with our partners and the support of the community, we know this new project will give hope and security to those who need it most.”
The new homes would be constructed beside the Northern Centre of Hope building located on the same site. The Northern Centre of Hope is also funded by the province and is managed by the Salvation Army to provide shelter and transitional and recovery housing for people experiencing homelessness. A covered walkway would connect the two buildings.
The project does not require rezoning as the site is already zoned appropriately. However, BC Housing has submitted an application to the City of Fort St. John for a development variance permit. If the variance is approved, construction is anticipated to begin in August 2021 and residents will be able to move in by early 2022.
The province is providing a $15 million grant for the project through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund and will provide annual operating funding.