The Burns Lake Motor Inn is in the early design stages of becoming a new homeless shelter. (Eddie Huband photo/Lakes District News)

The Burns Lake Motor Inn is in the early design stages of becoming a new homeless shelter. (Eddie Huband photo/Lakes District News)

Motor Inn homeless shelter project in early stages

B.C. Housing has purchased the building; no construction has begun

In the summer of 2020, a project was set into motion to turn the Burns Lake Motor Inn, located at 149 Highway 16, into a new homeless shelter. The shelter will serve members of Lake Babine Nation, Ts’il Kaz Koh also known as Burns Lake Band, Skin Tyee Band, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Wet’suwet’en First Nation and the Nee Tahi Buhn Band, as well as residents of Burns Lake.

B.C. Housing is leading the project, working to create homes with supports for members of the community who are experiencing homelessness. Lakes District News spoke to B.C. Housing Senior Communications Advisor, Tim Tororey about how the project is progressing.

“Last year, a group of six First Nations in the Burns Lake area approached B.C. Housing and identified supportive housing as a priority need in their community. The six nations include Lake Babine, Burns Lake, Skin Tyee, Cheslatta Carrier, Wet’suwet’en and Nee Tahi Buhn First Nations who are all partners in the project,” he said.

“In response to this need, the Province, through B.C. Housing, purchased the Burns Lake Motor Inn to provide 44 new permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness in the community.”

Tororey added that the construction phase of the project has yet to begin. “We are investing up to $9 million for the purchase and renovation of the building and we are currently at the design stage of the project. Once the design is approved, we will select a contractor and start the renovations.”

Along with the 44 rooms, proposed design details include full bathrooms and washrooms within each room to encourage self-sufficiency, a lounge area, a dining room, a quiet study room, a staff office and a community room. The shelter will have 24/7 on-site staffing as well.

In addition to a home, residents will also have access to services that will assist them to build their life, such as employment and life skills training, education and health services.