The opening of the new Odyssey House Supportive Housing Project could come as early as this time next year, now that construction is underway.
Dignitaries from across the Peace Region were in attendance today to mark the ground breaking of the much needed, 14 suite apartment style facility.
Currently, the Odyssey House can only provide shelter for women and children for a 21 day period, as mandated by the province.
Cliff Turner, Grande Prairie Women’s Residence Association President, says for many 21 one days is just not enough time to get back on their feet, and as a result, he has seen women cycle back into the shelter a dozen times or more in some cases.
“If you’ve never had a credit rating, if you’ve never rented a house, you can’t go to a landlord who has his choice of 40 people, they won’t rent to you. Even if they would rent to you, you’re not sure if you can afford to pay what they want, so what do you do? If you’re from out of town and you don’t have family that’s going to back you up, you have to go back to where you were”
Turner says the hope is that the supportive housing, which will provide longer term shelter, will help victims of domestic violence stop the cycle of abuse and dependence and create a solid foundation on which to support themselves and their children.
The 4.7 million dollar project is still couple hundred thousand dollars short on funding, but Turner says he is confident they will fill in the gap within the next couple of months.
Pictured: Beaverlodge Councillor Wendy Olson-Lepchuk, Sexsmith Mayor Claude Lagace, County of Grande Prairie Reeve Leanne Beaupre, Mr. Everett McDonald, MLA Grande Prairie-Smoky, the Honourable Wayne Drysdale, Minister of Transportation and MLA Grande Prairie-Wapiti, GPWRA President Cliff Turner, GPWRA Executive Director Jasmin Greavett, Peace River MP Chris Warkentin, City of Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given, MD of Greenview Deputy Reeve Tom Burton, Wembley Mayor Chris Turnmire, Hythe Councillor Gordon Nicholson