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City gives thumbs up to Friendship Centre transitional housing proposal

Flin Flon's city council has given first reading to a project that could open transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Flin Flon's city council has given first reading to a project that could open transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness.

A measure at the Feb. 21 Flin Flon city council meeting, which was given first reading and passed, would allow for the Flin Flon Aboriginal Friendship Centre to pursue building transitional housing in uptown Flin Flon. City council resolved to financially contribute five lots on Church Street - between numbers 59 to 69 on the east side of the street - to the centre “for the development of transitional housing,” according to the meeting agenda. That measure also came with a thumbs-up to ratifying an option agreement and approving the measure for signature by appropriate City executives and officials.

Those lots correspond with the area currently occupied by the parking lot north of the centre along Church Street, covering the odd-numbered lots from 59 to 69. Councillors confirmed that the area being discussed was the parking lot space and that, if the project was seen through, the lot would be replaced with a new building at the space.

The land is estimated by the City to have a value at around $55,000 - the agreement includes a five-year tax structure for the land deal and commitments that building permits will be taken out, that construction will start by June 30, 2024 and that any buildings put up will comply with City zoning and building codes.

The Reminder reached out to the Friendship Centre for comment on the project and what the plans would be, but has not received further information.

The option agreement signed off on by the City would allow the centre to put shovels in the ground at some point next year. The area will also need to be repaved before any buildings are put up and would require City infrastructure, like a water and sewer connection, along with a hydro hook-up and other features, before buildings can be put up.

“It will require infrastructure for the lot - sewer and water for the lot. We should do that now, before we pave it,” said councillor Bill Hanson.

Transitional housing, according to Canadian charity the Homeless Hub, is defined as a temporary supportive accommodation that allows people experiencing homelessness or whose incomes make long-term housing difficult to afford to have a safe space to live in while sorting out long-term plans. Transitional housing often comes along with access to job training and education programs, mental health or addictions support, structure or other supports to help whoever is living there find long-term gain. It is currently unknown what supports would be offered as part of a transitional housing package in Flin Flon.

The Friendship Centre has organized efforts to build either transitional housing or an outright homeless shelter in the past, but projects have not come to fruition, despite community support. The centre operates a hostel on its second floor and operates community outreach programs, along with opening its doors on bitterly cold days as a cold-weather shelter during the winter.

The measure still requires second and third reading before being fully passed by council.

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