Thank you to the Alberni Valley for their support of the wiikšaḥiquʔił 2nd Stage Housing!
Sage Haven celebrated the completion of the wiikšaḥiquʔił (week-sha-hee-cu-ith) building on November 17th, 2023, surrounded by community partners, donors, local service providers, local First Nations, and local government representatives. We are beyond thankful for the ongoing support and encouragement from all who attended. Not just as they braved the brisk cold on a sunny morning to celebrate, but over the previous 17 years that Sage Have Society has been advocating for and planning to bring 2nd stage housing for self-identifying women (and their children) fleeing or impacted by intimate partner and gender-based violence.
As a supportive 2nd stage housing project, wiikšaḥiquʔił (which loosely translates to a safe place in Nuu-chah-nulth) is a secure building with staff support and programming to help participants prepare for and plan new beginnings while residing in a safe place. Like most programs and services Sage Haven provides, participants can self-refer directly to Sage Haven or through one of the many community-integrated service providers throughout the Alberni Valley and nearby locations. Applications are still being accepted and are accessible on our website.
Throughout the process, Tseshat representatives have helped plan and answer our staff’s many questions to ensure a cultural presence in the newly blessed building. The help and support of Elected Chief Councillor Ken Watts, Councillor Jennifer Gallic, and Aaron Watts (Cultural Support) have been immeasurable throughout our planning process and beginning of Sage Haven services, which will be offered in the wiikšaḥiquʔił building and on the unceded lands of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations.
Many representatives from local community-based service providers attended the opening ceremonies, including (but not limited to) Hupacasath’s Health Director, VIHA, Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family & Child Services, Huu-ay-aht Child and Family Wellness, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Port Alberni Friendship Center, Kuu-Us Crisis Line Society, Port Alberni Shelter Society (PASS), WorkBC Employment Services Centre, INEO Services, The Salvation Army/Bread of Life, and Port Alberni Association of Community Living (PAACL). Their continued support and partnerships will help make Sage Haven’s newest supportive service and 2nd stage housing success in Port Alberni.
Many funding partners have helped to complete this project. The City of Port Alberni provided the land, and the Government of British Columbia funded the building through the Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund (BC Housing.) At the same time, general donations and hard work from our volunteers, board members, and staff leading up to this project have helped us to be the spark in the community needed to make it happen.
We look forward to helping participants move in beginning in December and supporting them through their healing journies. Thank you to every single person who has helped make this happen.
Please direct media questions about the wiikšaḥiquʔił 2nd Stage Housing program to Sage Haven Society’s Executive Director, Ellen Frood.
Applications and information about the 2nd stage housing program can be found on our website or by calling Cindy at 250-724-2223.