Abbeyfield House now social housing for women

North Burnaby's Abbeyfield House is now the Elspeth Alley Housing for Elder Women thanks to an agreement between the Anglican Church and Atira Women’s Resource Society.

Atira will operate a 23-apartment residence on the grounds of St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Church for women in Burnaby and New Westminster who need safe, affordable housing, according to a B.C. housing ministry press release.

The provincial government provided Atira $33,871 for capital improvements and start-up costs and will provide annual operating funds of $165,000 for support services. The Anglican Diocese of New Westminster will lease the property to Atira at a nominal rate for 44 years.

The apartments will be designated for elder women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The facility also includes a common kitchen and amenity space including living and activity rooms.

Support services will include a 24/7 live-in co-ordinator, life skills education and training and treatment support.

The project is named after one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada.

“We are glad to have Atira and their programs on our site as their work is consistent with our own diocesan social outreach and compassionate service goals," said Bishop Michael Ingham of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster in the release.

Atira is a not-for-profit organization focused on ending violence against women which manages 14 housing projects and related support programs.

“We are thrilled to be a part of a new women’s-only supported housing program, especially one for elder women and one outside the Downtown Eastside," said Atira CEO Janice Abbott in the release. "Elspeth’s is a new and critical resource and we look forward to working alongside the women who will live there.

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