City partnering to help create homeless solutions

The City of Prince Rupert is entering into a partnership that could result in one gap in housing being filled.

The City of Prince Rupert is entering into a partnership that could result in one gap in housing being filled.

Council voted on May 11 to join in partnership with the Aboriginal Community Services Society, M’akola Housing and the Muks-Kum-Ol Housing Society in order to access $50,000 in government funding aimed at addressing Aboriginal homelessness in Prince Rupert.

“The Aboriginal Services Group has had a number of conversations with the person who is in charge of this from the government’s perspective and they came up with the idea that perhaps we should be looking at a type of supportive housing for people who are homeless or are in imminent danger of becoming homeless who only need single room accommodation, because that is the kind of housing M’akola doesn’t currently have and is likely to need … The other target that had been identified is single parent families and trying to find housing support for them,” explained Coun. Joy Thorkelson, noting there is a lot of freedom in terms of what projects could be funded.

“It is targeted at coming up with an innovative design for a community project regarding housing – it was left that vague.”

The government indicated that BC Housing would need to be brought into the conversation, but Thorkelson pointed out the groups are trying to proceed as its own committee because BC Housing had previously told council they didn’t feel there was a need for additional housing in the community. For the moment, however, Thorkelson said many in Prince Rupert are awaiting results of the city’s housing inventory and a survey being conducted to determine the level of homelessness and need for affordable housing.

“The data that the city collects is going to inform this project,” said Mayor Lee Brain, adding groups may not have to wait long for details.

“There will be more coming out to the public in the next two weeks around how this is going to move forward and what this community initiative will look like.”