With over 300 new supportive housing units opening soon, the provincial government will extend funding for the next two months for the 40-bed Stanley/New Fountain HEAT shelter in Vancouver to provide residents time to transition to long-term housing.
The extension will provide enough time for the Province and the shelter's operator, PHS Community Services Society, to find other housing options for people using the shelter. The shelter opened in December 2008 as temporary accommodation during the winter months. Funding for the shelter was previously scheduled to end April 30.
Over the next two months, three buildings will be complete with 309 units. One site, with 108 apartments for women and children, on Abbott St. a block away from Woodward's, is opening shortly. And, by the end of the funding extension period, a 105-unit apartment building on Seymour St. and a 96-unit building on W. Pender St. will be complete.
The 80-unit Station St. development, which is operated by PHS, recently opened and is fully occupied. Funding for the Stanley/New Fountain shelter was originally scheduled to end when these supportive housing units were complete.
Two other sites under construction - on Dunbar St. and E. 1st with 280 apartments - will be completed by the end of the year. That means 570 of the 1,530 supportive housing units will be ready by the end of 2011.
In addition, last week the Province announced a $12 million provincial investment at the opening of the new, expanded Union Gospel Mission facility, with an increased capacity of 100 additional shelter beds and supportive housing units, for a total of 183 beds and apartments.
Rich Coleman, Minister Responsible for Housing -
"We want to ensure we're providing the necessary support for those who need assistance. By extending funding for this temporary shelter, we can ease the transition to more permanent housing for people in need."
"The Province is making a substantial investment in supportive housing to give individuals and families real homes for the future. Emergency shelters reduce street homelessness, but permanent supportive housing helps people stabilize and improve their lives over the long term."
* The Province has a partnership with the City of Vancouver to build more than 1,530 new supportive housing units on 14 sites in the city for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Seven sites are under construction or complete - with 570 units scheduled to open by the end of 2011. The provincial capital investment in the partnership is more than $300 million.
* Separate from the permanent supportive housing, the Province provides annual funding of approximately $17 million for more than 650 year-round shelter beds in Vancouver.
* The cost to operate temporary shelters such as the Stanley/New Fountain is approximately twice as much as funding permanent supportive housing. It costs approximately $2,250 every month for each mat on the floor at the Stanley/New Fountain, while the cost of operating an apartment at the new Station St. supportive housing is approximately $1,150 per month.
* Over the last decade, the provincial government has committed to build more than 21,600 new units of social housing across the province - from supportive housing for the homeless to affordable rentals for individuals, seniors and families with lower incomes. More than 19,000 have been completed or are in development, and another 1,866 have funding committed.
* Visit www.bchousing.org/breakingthecycle to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.
Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect