Frequently Asked Questions for Hazelton Build
1) What is Transition and Second Stage Housing?
Transition Housing is safe short-term shelter housing for women and women with children who are fleeing violence or experiencing crisis in their lives. Transition Houses are designed to be quiet, safe, cozy home-style spaces where women and their children can relax and regroup with the help of 24 hour, specially trained support staff.
Second Stage Housing is affordable housing with accompanying support services offered to women and women with children who have fled violence or significant crisis and are rebuilding and reintegrating themselves into the community. These houses are offered to women on a short term basis (approximately 18 months) at affordable rental rates so that they can take the time to work with NSDP staff and community supports to build a new path for their future.
2) What are you building on the site?
The Northern Society for Domestic Peace (NSDP) will be constructing up to 7 Second Stage homes, office spaces and a Transition House at 2925 Fielding Street. The townhouse style units will range from 1 to 3 bedrooms in size with a private courtyard space and playground. The front of the building will host our counselling office spaces and NSDP will move our public services into this location from our current rented space in New Hazelton. The Transition House will be situated across the courtyard from our Second Stage homes and will offer 6 bedrooms for short-term stays.
3) Who will be living there?
NSDP runs programs for women, children, and families throughout the region. The Society's Passage Transition House has operated for 30 years at the same Smithers location and temporarily houses and provides supports to women and women with children who have left violence or are experiencing crisis that requires a safe home in which to stay. This new Transition House in Hazelton will service the same demographic of clients that we have been supporting for decades in Smithers, but will allow us to provide shelter and services to women from Hazelton and the surrounding communities in a location that is closer to home. Our new Second Stage housing in Hazelton simply offers housing that is available for a longer term (typically a year and a half or so). Everyone living on site will be single women or women with children who are accessing NSDP's supportive programs and rebuilding their lives after leaving violence/crisis.
4) Will that add a lot more people to my neighbourhood?
You may notice a slight increase in density in the neighbourhood. Typically women who are staying at the Transition House are only with us for a month or less. The house will hold up to 13 beds. Sometimes it may be full and sometimes there may only be one or two women with us. We pride ourselves on having run a safe, quiet house in Smithers for 30 years with little impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. In addition to the Transition House there will be up to 7 small townhouses that will house either an individual woman or a woman with a child/children. Again, these tenants will stay with us for a period of about a year and a half and then will move on and a new family will arrive. The site will have 24 hour staff supervision and two counselling offices so there will always be NSDP staff on site. Neighbours can expect an increase in density and associated activity of between 20-40 people depending on occupancy. However, due to the nature of the services NSDP offers, the goal of the project is to build a site that is as quiet, safe and non-intrusive as possible.
5) OK, just a few families, but what about all their visitors and traffic through the neighbourhood?
The operations and the nature of the Transition House require the area to be a quiet, safe space for tenants. With that goal in mind, NSDP staff will be regulating who and when people visit the property. There will be occasional group events or family and friends that visit homes, but overnight visitors and parties will not be allowed. As always, staff are on site 24 hours a day to provide support and supervision. Many of our clients don't drive so we don't anticipate many more vehicles in the area. The main increase in traffic will be women with strollers/young children walking to the park or into town.
6) Urgh! Construction noise!
Unfortunately there is not a lot we can do to mitigate the impacts on neighbouring properties from the construction itself. All efforts will be made to be as unobtrusive as possible and construction will take place during work hours. The project is anticipated to begin sometime in late spring or early summer 2021 and is estimated to take around a year. NSDP has an amazing team working on the build and any questions or concerns can be directed to Carol or Airika at NSDP's main office. If a part of the construction phase is particularly disruptive, please contact us and we will do our best to address your concerns.
7) What is the New Build going to look like?
NSDP will have designs for public viewing in the future but the design period is still ongoing at this time. We can tell you that the Hazelton Build will be two stories, with townhouse style units, a two-story Transition House and a common space with offices for staff to continue providing our public counselling services. We are designing the outdoor space to include playground equipment and gardening space. The design of the Hazelton Build is intended to:
- tie in nicely with the surrounding area,
- incorporate state of the art safety and security features,
- accommodate mothers and young children in its layout,
- create a community/family feel environment
- utilize landscaping to provide privacy, soften the look from the street and accentuate the cozy, community atmosphere of the project
8) Is this a safety concern for me as a neighbour?
NSDP has been supporting women and children in the region for 30 years and have operated shelter housing in Smithers during that time with very minimal disruption to the surrounding neighbourhood. We don't anticipate any significant changes for the Hazelton neighbourhood other than a minor increase in density. Due to the nature of the services we provide to women and children, NSDP takes safety, security and privacy very seriously. Our top priority will always be the safety and privacy of our location and the people on site - by extension that makes us highly invested in the atmosphere of the neighbourhood around us. This Hazelton project will incorporate many design elements that incorporate safety and privacy considerations but these are not an indicator that the residents pose any risk. We use these features and 24-hour staff out of an abundance of caution and a mandate that we will support our clients to the best of our ability. We have a close working relationship with the RCMP but in 30 years of operating in Smithers, have very rarely needed to call on them. If you have safety concerns please contact Carol or Airika at NSDP.