Chilliwack’s stock of affordable rental housing just got a bit of a boost.
Ruth and Naomi’s Mission celebrated the grand opening of their 36-unit Family Centre on Friday, with a ribbon-cutting by dignitaries in the afternoon, and a fundraiser that night.
The six-storey building, behind the existing mission, has rental suites for lower income families, as well as 20 day care spaces, a teaching kitchen, and a wellness centre.
RAN executive director Bill Raddatz praised everyone involved in making the project a reality, including the effort to get City of Chilliwack officials to agree to closing Fletcher Road to make room for the brand-new day care playground space.
“That’s where the rubber meets the road,” Raddatz said pointing to the beautiful fenced in playground where the nearby Fletcher Street used to be open to vehicle traffic.
Only 10 of the 36 units are still available to rent for lower to moderate-income families and individuals.
“Today is a big day for the community,” MP Jati Sidhu of Mission–Matsqui–Fraser Canyon acknowledged at the facility’s ribbon-cutting. He was there on behalf of two federal ministers.
“We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed and supporting the most vulnerable Canadians is a top priority for my government,” Sidhu sadi. “What has been achieved here today is the result of collaboration, partnership and cooperation.”
Tenants started moving in last month on the upper floors of 46129 Princess Avenue. The facility, run by RAN Society, also includes nine addiction recovery beds for women.
Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, was in Chilliwack representing the provincial government on behalf of Housing Minister Selina Robinson.
“Like so many areas in this province, people of Chilliwack are in desperate need for more affordable housing. From seniors, to families, to individuals experiencing homelessness, people across the province are struggling just to get by,” D’Eith said.
Affordable housing offers refuge to those in need.
“It’s so important that women and families have safe and secure housing, which is why we’re building affordable homes in communities of all sizes across the province,” D’Eith said. “I’m excited for the people who will be living in these homes because affordable housing reconnects people with hope for the future and helps them plan and save for new opportunities.”
Mayor Ken Popove said he “tipped” his hat to everyone involved “for your drive and push to make this work.”
The RAN Family Centre is the third affordable supportive housing project that has been built since Chilliwack formally recognized the desperate need for more affordable housing in 2016.
“We are grateful to the government for their help,” Popove said. “We are one of the fastest growing communities in B.C. and with that comes our social issues. It’s not fixable but it certainly is manageable.
“I’m so proud of my city, of what you’ve done, and all the people who’ve kicked in a hand, gotten their hands dirty. This is a testament to that.”
He praised the medical component of the centre as well, which he said complements the housing aspects perfectly.
“Ruth and Naomi’s Mission is proud to be a part of the solution in helping homelessness and those at risk of being homeless,” Raddatz said. “We hope to help families become stronger and healthier by providing medical, physical, dental, financial, spiritual and therapeutic care.”
The governments of Canada and B.C. provided more than $7 million under the Social Infrastructure Fund (SIF) grant. The provincial government through BC Housing, provided a $500,000 grant under the Investment in Housing Innovation program. The City of Chilliwack waived $626,000 in municipal fees for the project.