An organization offering transitional housing to women in need and their children will be able to double its capacity thanks to a grant from the city of Coquitlam.
The Talitha Koum Society and the city will each contribute $600,000 to a $1.2-million initiative, which includes buying and renovating a house that will then be shared by up to nine people.
Mary Boucher, the president of the Talitha Koum board of directors, said her organization already operates a nine-bed transition house in Coquitlam and is hoping to have the new facility operating by next May.
“Our mandate is to set up a home situation rather than an institution,” she said. “A house with a suite is ideal. The women feel they are living in a home and it is good for the children as well.”
While she cannot disclose the address of the property, Boucher said it is close to transit and amenities, and will be staffed by Talitha Koum at all times.
She added that many of the women who take advantage of transitional housing come to the society from a variety of backgrounds.
“Some are homeless, some have been in different facilities or treatment centres,” she said. “They are all looking for spiritual healing.”
Talitha Koum has operated in the Lower Mainland for 17 years and has run transition homes in rental properties in Burnaby and Vancouver.
But in Coquitlam, the society has purchased homes, which Boucher said has made the housing programs more stable for residents. The organization has also moved its main office to the Tri-Cities.
The city of Coquitlam’s $600,000 contribution to the effort comes from the municipality’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, which sets aside money to support affordable housing projects for low- and low-to-moderate income households.
Staff said in a press release that the fund is currently at $9.3 million, but it is expected to grow over the next three decades to between $20 million and $25 million depending on the pace of development. The money comes from a 10% share of the density bonusing fees the city receives from developers.
Organizations make funding requests to the city for projects that are appropriate for the community and can leverage the contributions in combination with other partners, the city said in a press release.
SRS. RENTAL HOUSING GETS A $177K GRANT
The Talitha Koum Society is not the only organization receiving a contribution from Coquitlam’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund.
The Finnish Canadian Rest Home Association has been granted $177,545 for a project at 1226 Johnson St. (between Guildford Way and Durant Drive) that will provide 67 units of seniors’ rental housing, 14 of which will be below-market rentals.
Another 76 market townhouse units will also be included. The non-market units are expected to charge an average of 80% of market rents.