New supportive housing building with 19 units opens in Queen Charlotte

Joshua Azizi


A new supportive housing project with 19 units has opened in the Village of Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii. 

The building is titled Kal Naay Alder House, and its units are aimed at low-income individuals and people who are homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Residents will have access to meal programs, life-skills training, a counseling space and health and wellness support services.

Queen Charlotte Mayor Kris Olsen said the project was great news for the community, and he mentioned that a friend of his who's faced challenges in his life will soon be moving into one of the units.

"One of my lifelong friends -- I've known him my whole life -- he struggles with alcoholism and he's in treatment right now. When he comes home, he's going to be able to have a nice warm house with the services he needs so that he can transition in a healthy way. He's been in and out of treatment over the course of his life -- he just struggles, and this is going to be a wonderful addition to his lifestyle."

Olsen also said Haida Gwaii is currently struggling with a low housing stock and an increase in the cost of housing. According to B.C. Assessment, the cost of a single family home in Queen Charlotte increased by 31 per cent from 2018 to 2019, and by eight per cent from 2019 to 2020.

Olsen says housing insecurity is an issue on Haida Gwaii, but it's often out of sight.

"It's not a visible issue. It's a lot of couch surfing, it's people living in family houses or friends' houses or things like that. Over the last little while, there were some families living in campgrounds and people living in vans. So we've started to realize there really needs to be a solution to this issue."

The B.C. government provided approximately $8.5 million for the building, which will be managed by the Queen Charlotte Heritage Housing Society.

Photo source: Jennifer Rice (Facebook)

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