"This investment, the first of its kind in 20 years, will reduce this pressure — both for the women and children in need, as well as for the workers that care for and support them." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (29 May 2018) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) applauds the provincial government's announcement that it will build 1,500 new supportive housing units throughout the province for women and children fleeing violence. Over the next 10 years, the government will invest $734 million to build this much-needed housing, which includes transition houses, safe homes, second-stage and long-term housing.
BCGEU/NUPGE's report recommendationed investing in afforadable housing as way to improve women's services
In 2017, the BCGEU/NUPGE released its report Collective wisdom: challenges and opportunities in B.C. women's services, which described a sector greatly undermined by inadequate public funding. Among the report's recommendations was to improve women's services by investing in safe and affordable housing for women and children.
"A long-term lack of funding for housing programs amounted to a complete failure to provide enough safe and affordable housing for the province's most vulnerable, especially women and children," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "This investment, the first of its kind in 20 years, will reduce this pressure — both for the women and children in need, as well as for the workers that care for and support them."
Frontline community social services workers know how vital public and community services are needed
The BCGEU/NUPGE's report was the result of a March 2017 structured dialogue on issues facing the sector in which 60 BCGEU/NUPGE members who work in community social services (BCGEU Component 3) provided their input.
"Workers in this sector, which is largely made up of women helping vulnerable women, face significant challenges in providing resources where and when they are needed," says Andrea Duncan, BCGEU Component 3 Vice-President. "During our 2017 dialogue, our members made clear the urgent need for government to reinvest in vital public and community social services. We are so pleased to see government recognize this need and take action to provide this supportive housing."
The BCGEU/NUPGE is one of the largest and most diverse unions in British Columbia with over 75,000 members and represents over 1,500 workers in women's services throughout the province.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE