Nine units within a new provincially funded housing program will be dedicated to a program that provides independent housing to teens who can’t live at home.
Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing Society (MQHS) received $10 million in funding in April to build a 60-unit affordable-housing project in central Abbotsford. This week, the organization announced it would work with Abbotsford Community Services (ACS), which runs the Autumn House Program for youths aged 16 to 18 who need to be housed independently because of “circumstances outside their control.”
The Autumn House Program, which is managed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, currently provides housing for up to 10 teens. Those youth also receive help with studies and employment and life-skills development. The nine units – two will be two-bedroom suites – will provide space for the 10 teens, along with a caretaker. Currently, the program operates several other central Abbotsford sites.
The move to the MQHS building will see all the program’s youths to be housed on the same floor, which will allow the residents to better support each other and access services while living in a mixed building with other generations.
“It will provide more stability for them to be together,” said Shairose Jinnah, director of child, youth and family services at ACS. “These are some exceptional young people who have overcome some remarkable challenges.”
MQHS CEO Janice Silver is confident the program will fit well into the new housing facility.
“This program is so incredibly well managed with many checks and balances, including strict regulations and ministry oversight, that were an issue to arise, we know it would be dealt with quickly and efficiently,” she said in the release.
A third and final open house on the project will take place June 13 at 6 p.m. at the Clearbrook Library. The format will be a facilitated community dialogue with representatives from MQHS, ACS and other external team members and subject matter experts.