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Federal funds help expand Sea to Sky Corridor transition house, Pearl’s Place

With $ 1.55 million in funding, transition House expands to aid more survivors of intimate partner violence.

The aim is to help more survivors safely rebuild their lives after fleeing intimate partner violence. 

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country MP Patrick Weiler was in the bright and cosy, teal-coloured lobby of PearlSpace on Third Avenue in Squamish Friday afternoon for a funding announcement that supports the expansion of the Pearl’s Place Transition House.  

On behalf of the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser, Weiler announced funding of more than $1.55 million through the National Housing Strategy’s Affordable Housing Fund (previously the National Housing Co-Investment Fund). 

The new funding helped add new beds to Pearl’s Place Transition House in Squamish, operated by PearlSpace Support Services Society. 

Shana Murray, community program director for PearlSpace, said the funds, which it received from the feds through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), help the organization address the capacity demands on the transition house by adding five new bedrooms, three of which were in addition to the existing residential home and two in the form of a fully mobile, accessible carriage house.

"With these additions, we are now able to house up to 15 survivors fleeing intimate partner violence," she said at the press conference. 

The house is an emergency safe space to stay for women, gender diverse people, their children and pets leaving violence.

"Statistics show that sexual and gender-based violence increased dramatically throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And this trauma from a once-in-a-century pandemic ... remains today. Combined with the strain of elevated cost of living challenges caused by global inflation, the stress fuelled continued risks to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. And this is a challenge that we cannot ignore," said Weiler.

Those who stay at the corridor transition house have access to full-time services to support their needs while they find more long-term security and housing.

"With dedicated family bedrooms in a residential home, residents will also have access to a communal kitchen, free shared laundry, multi-purpose spaces and a fully fenced and private backyard equipped with family play spaces," reads a federal government news release.

The local transition house expansion was complete as of July.  

Murray said the transition facility has had an average of eight women, children and their pets at a time. 

"With operating funds from CMHC, we are working through increasing staffing capacity to ensure we have enough staff on shift to fully support an occupied house and all the needs of those who access the program,” she said. 

In terms of dealing with the source of violence upstream from the need for transition houses, Weiler said there are various initiatives the government is working on, including combating hate online.

"What we're focusing on right now is the role of social media promoting a lot of misogyny and discrimination, and hate speech, frankly. Right now, we're also in the process of working on a piece of legislation ... related to online harms, and that's something that we're very close to being able to announce," he said. "But it's really about funding for the organizations that are combating gender-based violence like PearlSpace that we see our role is ... so that's why today's announcement is really so important."

The total funding for PearlSpace breaks down into:

  • $1.03 million from the federal government through the Affordable Housing Fund, plus $92,000 per year in a subsidy for six years, totalling $552,000;
  • $247,000 from the provincial government, through BC Housing’s Capital Renewal Fund;
  • $1,500 in kind from the District of Squamish. 

Go to the PearlSpace website for more on its transition house and programs.

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