Knights of Columbus Father Callaly Council in Smithers donating $500 to the Northern Society for Domestic Peace (NDSP) in 2017. NDSP just received funding for nine units of second-stage transition housing. (Contributed photo)

Housing for women and children fleeing violence

B.C. government funds transition housing for women and children fleeing violence in Smithers.

Last week, B.C.’s ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced funding for nine second-stage housing units for women and children fleeing violence in Smithers.

The announcement is the first step in the Province’s 10-year, $734-million investment to building 1,500 transition housing, second-stage housing and affordable housing spaces for women and children fleeing violence minister of municipal affairs and housing Selina Robinson said in a press release.

“Women and children escaping domestic violence deserve a safe place to live as they recover their lives. This funding fills an important gap left by the previous government for second-stage transition housing in Smithers,” Bulkley Valley-Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson said. “It’s a long overdue action that I’m so happy our government was able to take.”

Smithers was one of 12 communities in B.C. to receive funding.

Northern Society for Domestic Peace (NSDP) will be in charge of the units. Four of the units will be designated for young women and young mothers and five units will be for other women and women with children.

“We’re really pleased and grateful that we’ll be able to do something that we wanted to do for a long time,” NSDP executive director Carol Seychuk said.

“It gives us an opportunity [to provide options to] women who are leaving at risk situations and need some stability — and need affordable safe, housing.”

Second-stage housing provides safe short-term housing and supports for women after they leave an abusive relationship or situation. Women can stay in these units for six to 18 months.

Currently, NSDP has no second-stage housing units in Smithers.

Seychuk said they have not been notified by the Province as to when construction of the units will begin.

According to Ending Violence Association of British Columbia, over half of women in B.C. have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.

NSDP operates a short-term relief shelter for women and children attempting to leave a dangerous situations that is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

For more information on this shelter call (250) 847-2595.

Information about the other programs NSDP provides to vulnerable individuals can be found on their website domesticpeace.ca or by calling 250-847-9000.

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