People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Vernon will soon have access to supportive housing as part of the Province’s new modular-housing program, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson announced today.
“Too many people have been left alone to struggle with homelessness for too many years,” said Robinson. “These modular-housing projects are our government’s rapid response to these urgent needs. We’re working with communities across the province to get people into homes and off of the streets as quickly as possible.”
The new units in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Vernon are part of the Province’s commitment to build 2,000 modular units over two years throughout B.C. by working in partnership with local governments.
“The need for safe, affordable housing has been growing in our province and has become a serious problem that communities of all sizes are trying to address,” said Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson. “These new units will have a direct and meaningful impact in communities and will begin to address a growing homelessness problem. The units will be places that offer people a warm, safe place to live and just as important, the supports they need to begin rebuilding their lives.”
In Prince Rupert, the B.C. government is allocating approximately $3.6 million for a 44-unit modular-housing project. The city will work with BC Housing to find a suitable location for the development.
“This is fantastic news for the community,” said Mayor of Prince Rupert Lee Brain. “The city has advocated for affordable housing for Prince Rupert for quite some time. We are happy to see the Province acting to meet the urgent need for long-term affordable housing solutions for Prince Rupert.”
In Terrace, the Province is allocating close to $8 million towards the creation of up to 52 units of permanent modular housing, which has been proposed for 4519 and 4523 Olson Ave. The city has started the rezoning process for the site.
“This modular-housing program is a critical step towards supporting our most vulnerable citizens and providing them with affordable quality housing,” said Mayor of Terrace Carol Leclerc. “This program provides 24/7 support staffing to address the challenges our homeless and low-income residents experience in accessing safe and secure housing. Council recognizes that the City of Terrace has a significant need for transitional housing units, and we look forward to partnering with the Province to implement this initiative in an efficient and timely manner.”
In Vernon, the provincial government is allocating approximately $11 million towards two permanent modular projects: a 45-bed shelter to expand capacity of the current homeless shelter and transitional housing development at Howard House, and a 53-unit supportive housing project that will be located on land owned by BC Housing at 27th Avenue and 35th Street.
“We’re pleased to see the Province step up to address homelessness with support to deliver these modular-housing units in Vernon,” said Mayor of Vernon Akbal Mund. “We applaud the Province’s efforts to create more safe and secure housing options that support some of Vernon’s most vulnerable citizens.”
The B.C. government is investing $291 million to build 2,000 modular-housing units across British Columbia over the next two years and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services.
The provincial government is working with local governments throughout the province on the potential of modular-housing opportunities as a quick and effective way to respond to homelessness.
Prince Rupert, Terrace and Vernon follow Vancouver as the next communities to include modular housing as part of a solution to help address homelessness. The City of Vancouver has started to identify locations for 600 units of modular housing.
The Province will also be working with local governments and community partners to develop a homelessness action plan to reduce homelessness through permanent housing and services.
Lindsay ByersMinistry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Rajvir RaoBC Housing
The B.C. government is allocating $170 million over three years to ensure all the new modular-housing buildings in the province have 24/7 staffing.
Experienced non-profit housing providers will be selected to operate the modular buildings.
Tenants will be provided with support based on their assessed need.
Some examples of services and supports include:
- Connecting residents to community supports, such as education and employment opportunities and health and wellness services;
- Individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information, and social and recreational programs;
- Case planning and needs assessment;
- Other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally-specific programs;
- Assistance to access income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
- Support for residents to maintain their home, such as room decluttering, rent payment, and repayment plans; and
- No-cost laundry services, either on-site or off-site.