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Housing for 28 people with mental health, addiction challenges opening in Prince George

The former Economy Inn on Third Avenue is being transformed into supportive housing
housing
1915 Third Avenue in Prince George is being renovated to create housing for 28 people. (via Hanna Petersen)

New housing that will provide 28 people with mental health and addictions challenges supports within their own homes at rates they can afford will soon open in Prince George.

The province provided approximately $4 million to purchase and renovate the former Economy Inn Motel at 1915 Third Ave., to transform the building into new supportive housing geared to people with low to moderate incomes who also need health and wellness services.

"Having a supportive environment with safe, secure housing can help people stabilize and begin rebuilding their lives," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a news release.

"These new homes are going to provide crucial support to people living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, and those dealing with mental-health and addictions challenges."

Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week, the new building will be operated by the Association Advocating for Women and Community (AWAC).

AWAC will provide staff and ongoing support to residents working toward greater self-sufficiency. The residence will also have access to additional services including a meal program and community supports, such as life skills development, employment training, education and health supports.

"AWAC is a proud partner in this much-needed housing project," said Connie Abe, executive director, AWAC in the release. "These 28 new homes represent safety and security for too many who have never known it. Helping house our community's most marginalized citizens will go a long way in helping them rebuild their lives."

The renovated building features 28 suites with private washrooms and small kitchenettes, as well as communal dining and laundry areas.

"This innovative solution will support people living with mental health and addictions challenges by providing the services they need, when they need and where they need them," said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

"By addressing the social conditions in people's lives, we can play a big role in helping people find their own unique pathways to healing, their pathways to hope."

Residents will pay a monthly rent of $450, which is the $375 social assistance shelter allowance provided by the province to people experiencing homelessness, plus $75 for cable, internet, laundry and one meal per day.

"Council is pleased to see these new, supported homes helping the citizens of Prince George," said Mayor Lyn Hall in the release.

"Vital, growing communities like Prince George need supportive housing projects like this one. We look forward to working with the province of B.C. to further develop housing and services in our city."

When residents are ready to move into independent housing, staff will help residents view apartments and work with landlords to support stable tenancies.