FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The province is partnering with the Salvation Army to build a new housing facility in Fort St. John to support the homeless population.

The project includes a four-storey building, located at 9916 99th Ave, with 42 homes, office space, laundry facilities, a dining area and a commercial kitchen. Each unit would include a private bathroom, kitchenette and storage for residents.

The building will be operated by the Salvation Army and will also provide support services for residents.

A minimum of two staff would be on site at all times to provide daily meals, mentorship and skills building, and provide a connection to volunteer or employment opportunities, says the province. Space will also be available for residents wanting to speak with social workers, address private health issues and hygiene care.

“As a community-minded organization with a strong history in Fort St. John, we look forward to building on our experience,” said Jared Braun, Fort St. John Salvation Army Executive Director.

“Because of the expertise of our staff, the collaboration with our partners and the support of the community, we know this new project will give hope and security to those who need it most.”

A covered walkway will connect the building to the Northern Centre of Hope, located next to the new facility, which is also run by the Salvation Army. The existing building provides shelter, and transitional and recovery housing for people experiencing homelessness.

The province says the site is already zoned appropriately, so rezoning will not be needed. Construction is expected to begin in August if the City of Fort St. John approves a development permit that has been submitted by BC Housing.

If everything goes to plan, residents will move into the new building by early 2022, says the province.

The province is providing a $15-million grant for the project through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund and will provide annual operating funding.

BC Housing and the Salvation Army will be hosting a virtual online community information session where the public can learn more about the project.

Community members wanting to view the project plans and submit questions can head to BC Housing’s website.