The BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) welcomed today’s announcement by the provincial government to initiate the first steps towards establishing 1,500 new supportive housing units for women and children fleeing violence. As part of government’s Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund, 280 transition housing units will be built province-wide.
This news follows their commitment earlier this year to invest a total of $734 million over the next 10 years to build supportive housing including safe homes, second-stage and long-term housing in addition to transition housing units. The housing funding will also include a range of services, including emotional support and safety planning.
“Access to safe, affordable housing is absolutely critical to supporting women and children escaping violence,” says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “As the first significant investment in supportive housing in 20 years, our members working in women’s support services know first-hand how urgently additional housing is needed, and the difference it will make in helping more women escape the cycle of violence. This is what a government that cares about people looks like, and I was honoured to attend the announcement this morning in person.”
Through 12 different projects the 280 new housing units will be built throughout the province based on community need and government aims to have work underway on 500 units within the next three years.
In 2017, the BCGEU released its report Collective wisdom: challenges and opportunities in B.C. women's services which described a sector greatly undermined by inadequate public funding. Among the report's recommendations was to improve women's services by investing in safe and affordable housing for women and children.
The BCGEU is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 77,000 members and represents over 1,500 workers in women's services throughout the province.