A new housing project opened in Courtenay Thursday that will provide safe, affordable homes for women and children fleeing violence in the Comox Valley, the provincial government says.

The project saw eight units built for up to 16 women and children, paid for through the Building B.C. Women’s Transition Fund.

"Women and children need to know there are safe, compassionate places for them to turn to when they leave an abusive situation," said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox.

"We are working with non-profit partners throughout the province to ensure women and children have access to homes where they can heal, free from violence.”

Over the next 10 years, the $734-million investment will increase women’s housing in B.C. by 63 per cent with 1,500 transitional, second-stage and long-term spaces built for women and children escaping violence.

More than 340 of these new homes have been announced in 14 communities throughout B.C.

"For women fleeing violence, access to housing will help them take the important step towards safety for themselves and their children so they can focus on healing and recovery," said Melanie McCollum, Acting Mayor of Courtenay.

"This facility will offer them the dignity, support and respect they so deeply deserve. We are very grateful to the Province and the Comox Valley Transition Society for providing this much-needed service for women and children in our community."

Residents moved into their new homes in July 2019 and pay monthly rent ranging from $570 to $965.