Low-income and other vulnerable British Columbians who aremoving into provincially subsidized housing developments will benefit from a one-time, $1-million grant provided to the BC Non-Profit Housing Association for ?Welcome to Your Home? starter kits, announced Claude Richmond, Minister of Employment and Income Assistance.

?Housing is more than just a building with a roof – it?s about being able to live in your own home with dignity and security,? said Richmond. ?Our government has made the commitment to ensure every British Columbian has access to a safe, affordable place to call home. The ?Welcome to Your Home? starter kit program is building on this commitment and provides additional supports for low-income tenants and their families.?

Designed specifically to help new tenants live comfortably and safely in their accommodations, each ?Welcome to Your Home? kit will contain over 100 essential items for the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom including cooking sets, cutlery and utensils, bedding, towels, toiletries, basic first aid supplies and a tool kit. The approximate value of each kit is $570.

?Many people, especially the homeless, at-risk youth and women fleeing abusive relationships, do not possess, or have the financial means to purchase, the basics necessary to set up their new households,? said Karen Stone, executive director, BC Non-Profit Housing Association. ?The ?Welcome to Your Home? kits will help low-income tenants settle into their new homes – giving them a sense of dignity and empowerment that comes with a new home.?

Almost 1,700 kits will be distributed by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association through many of its 400 member housing societies starting in the middle of September. In addition, the association has partnered with the Aboriginal Housing Management Association to extend the program to First Nation-specific housing organizations.

?We are pleased to be a partner in this exciting program,? said Ruth Williams, Aboriginal Housing Management Association board member and executive director of the Kamloops Native Housing Society. ?It?s important that B.C.?s First Nations have access to programs that help make a positive difference in their lives.?

The government of British Columbia, through BC Housing, works in partnership with the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and its members to subsidize 59,500 housing units across the province to assist those most in need.