Canada, B.C. Open Housing Project for the Homeless

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2009

Ministry of Housing and Social Development
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

PRINCE GEORGE – Friendship Lodge, an $8.1-million, 30-unit apartment building, officially opened today to provide housing and support services for adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with mental health and addiction issues in Prince George.“The Government of Canada is helping make affordable housing available in British Columbia and across Canada for those who need it the most,” said the Honourable Jay Hill, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and MP for Prince George-Peace River, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “These new units in Prince George improve the housing conditions for those at risk of homelessness with access to suitable, affordable housing that meets their specific needs.”

The Government of Canada provided a Canada-BC grant of $2 million, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The Province provided $5.9 million in mortgage financing through the Provincial Homelessness Initiative, which integrates support services with housing to help people move beyond temporary shelter to more secure housing, greater self-reliance and appropriate employment. In addition, the Province is providing operational funding of approximately $795,000 for administration including full-time onsite staffing and support services.

“We are working to create housing opportunities for our most vulnerable citizens so they can live in safe environments that provide the support services necessary to ensure they get the help and guidance they need,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Transportation and MLA for Prince George-Valemount. “Friendship Lodge is a result of a partnership between several levels of government that recognize the need for secure, supportive housing options. I am confident that with the Prince George Native Friendship Centre operating the lodge residents will be well-supported.”

“The opening of Friendship Lodge demonstrates the positive change that can take place when government and community partners work together,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Forests and Range and MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie. “Providing more stable, affordable housing options is vital to improving the quality of life of our most vulnerable citizens by helping them re-establish their place in the community.”

“Homelessness and affordable housing are important issues facing our community and surrounding regions,” said Prince George Mayor Dan Rogers. “The opening of Friendship Lodge and Nutesne Yoh is a good step towards meeting the needs of our most vulnerable.”

Friendship Lodge will be managed and operated by Prince George Native Friendship Centre Society (PGNFCS). The society also manages and operates Nutesne Yoh (the former Astoria Hotel), a 17-unit supportive housing development for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with mental health and addiction issues. The Province provided approximately $1-million for the purchase and renovations of Nutesne Yoh and is providing $288,553 annually in operational funding.

“Our partnerships with the federal and provincial governments have allowed the Prince George Friendship Centre Society to officially open a total of 47 units of supportive housing to help struggling men and women find the housing and supports they so desperately need,” said Barbara Ward-Burkitt, M.Ed., executive director, PGNFCS. “I am confident that our newly expanded housing programs and support services will provide path ways for the residents to move toward long-term independence and greater self-reliance.”

In 2008, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help the homeless. Canada’s Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing social housing and lending of up to another $2 billion to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

Increasing affordable housing, reducing homelessness and helping B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens is a key agenda for the Province of British Columbia. In 2009/10, the Province’s budget for affordable housing and shelters is $469 million, more than four times as much as in 2001.

‘Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness’ is a website providing a comprehensive and detailed look at provincial programs and services to address homelessness. Visit for more information.

CMHC has been Canada’s national housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country. The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will contribute more than $130 million towards affordable housing in B.C.

More information on this and other measures in Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government’s plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at:

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit



Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley
Tel.: 819 994-2482

Rhonda Nguyen
BC Housing
604 439-4740
604 374-8301 (cell)

Jeanette Wilkinson
604 737-4025



The Prince George Native Friendship Centre Society’s (PGNFCS) Friendship Lodge, located at 1656 Queensway St. in Prince George, provides 30 units of supportive housing for men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with mental health and addiction issues.

The three-storey wood frame building contains 30 one-bedroom units, including four handicapped-accessible units. The building also has two offices, common meeting spaces and laundry facilities on each floor. The development was designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

PGNFCS manages and operates three supportive housing developments in Prince George: Friendship Lodge, Nutesne Yoh and Ketso Yoh.

Both Nutesne Yoh and Ketso Yoh provide short-term transitional housing with support services, the first for women; the second for men. Residents at these two locations receive two meals a day, counselling and life skills training to assist with procuring employment and vocational and educational training.

Friendship Lodge provides secondary, long-term housing with support services for residents who are ready to transition from the short-term housing to more independent housing.

Partners and Funding

The capital cost of this development is approximately $8,100,000.
· The federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, provided a grant of $2 million through Canada – British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement.
· The Province provided $5,852,621 in the form of a mortgage and a 60-year lease for the land, valued at $230,000.

Operating funding:

· The Province is providing annual operational funding of $529,292.
· The society will apply revenue from tenant rents towards the operations funding.


The Prince George Native Friendship Centre (PGNFC) was established in 1969 and became a non-profit society in 1970. Today, PGNFCS is a multifaceted organization employing over 150 people and offering a broad range of services to the community of Prince George. PGNFCS services approximately 20,000 clients annually and has been recognized as a leader in social services and Aboriginal programs.


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