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Council seeks housing project clarification

Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre shifts project focus

The District of Houston council is seeking more information and clarification over a shift in housing options for the community being sought by the Dze L’Kant Friendship Centre.

Originally conceived as an affordable housing project through a provincial government indigenous housing program, the friendship centre now wants to apply to a provincial women’s transition program, explained centre director Annette Morgan in a letter to council.

She said the shift is necessary because no new money has been made available this year by the indigenous housing program.

“We believe that there is a valuable opportunity available through BC Housing’s Building BC: Women’s Transitional Housing Fund to meet an identified need in Houston,” she added of the shift.

“A successful proposal under this funding program will allow the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre to develop much needed culturally appropriate and safe housing, with wrap around supports for women and their children, including those who are at risk, or fleeing violence,” Morgan wrote.

Council did hear more about the plan from friendship centre official Lydia Howard at its Aug. 4 meeting and now wants to follow up, says Mayor Shane Brienen.

“It’s more about the scope of the project now. The services transition housing offers,” he said.

Council does remain supportive of the friendship centre’s goals of adding to housing options within the community, Brienen added.

The original proposal called for childcare spaces on the ground floor of a building, something that could also be financed through the transition housing program.

Council committed itself earlier this year to negotiating a long term lease with the friendship centre for a housing project on a District-owned vacant lot at 3448 10th Street.

The friendship centre had been asking for a letter of support in preparation for its financing application to the transitional housing fund in hopes of being granted the money by next year.

An extensive housing report commissioned by the District and released this year indicated there are gaps in housing options, including affordable accommodation and housing for people at risk.