Smithers’ new 24-unit supportive housing complex is now officially open.
At a ceremony this morning (Friday, Feb. 8), representatives of the partners — Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA), the Town of Smithers, the Wet-suwet’en, BC Housing and Nomodic Modular Structures — cut the ribbon at Goodacre Place.
Named after the recently deceased former long-time town councillor Bill Goodacre, the newly completed project on Railway Avenue has been in the works for six years.
“I was thinking back to 2013 when a group of volunteers came to town council, the Smithers Action Group Association (SAG) and told us about this concept called supportive housing and the idea of housing first,” said Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach. “The idea that, when you give people who are struggling housing first it gives them the stability that they need to tackle some of the other major challenges in their life.”
Supportive housing is not just a place to live, though. The residents of Goodacre Place will have around-the-clock services including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
Catherine Olmstead, SCSA executive director, said there could not be a more fitting tribute to Bill Goodacre and his family, “who showed us how to care for other people, and just treating people fairly and kindly; and that really is a philosophy that we want to embody here.”
The building has 22 units that will offer longer-term housing for individuals and families in need, and two multiple-bed units that will provide short-term emergency shelter.
Residents will pay $375 per month, which is the social assistance shelter allowance the Province provides for people experiencing homelessness.
On behalf of the provincial government, Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson also offered comments.
“What we’re seeing here today is so important for the fabric of our community and so important for people who need a helping hand to get back on their feet and become even more contributing members to the community and the society in general,” he said.
Donaldson said the opening of Goodacre Place brings the number of completed units built in the province under the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program to more than 800, noting there are another 1,200 more to come.
The construction was completed by Nomodic along with local subcontractors.
“We started the company in 2012 under the premise that we could all make and leave things better than we found them, and I can’t think of a better example of what that means other than Goodacre place,” said Kevin Read, Nomodic CEO.
Read also presented a $1,000 cheque to SCSA. Olmstead already knows where that money will be going.
“As an organization what we thought would be nice would be to buy some local art because it would dovetail into the culture of Nomodic of really infusing some economic development into the community, and would really enhance the quality of life of the people living here,” she said.