People who are homeless or who are at risk of homelessness in the Town of Smithers will soon have access to new supportive housing as part of the British Columbia government’s modular-housing program.
To help vulnerable people in the community, the Province and the town are partnering to build 24 modular-housing units that will provide 24/7 support. Residents will have a meal program and will be connected to community-based health-care services to help them as they transition into longer-term safe and secure housing.
“We are providing the homes needed by people struggling with homelessness in the community of Smithers,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “While shelters offer a temporary solution for people, we recognize that communities also need supportive housing as a transition between shelters and stable housing in the private market.”
The new development at 3896 Railway Ave. will be built on land owned by the Town of Smithers. The site is centrally located and is close to recreation facilities and other community services.
“This supportive housing project represents a significant step in our community’s journey toward ensuring every Smithers resident has stable, affordable housing,” said Taylor Bachrach, Smithers mayor. “We applaud the Province and our local partners for their leadership, and we look forward to seeing the project completed in the near future."
Smithers joins seven other B.C. communities that have included modular housing as part of a solution to help address homelessness. More than 1,000 modular-housing units are confirmed in communities throughout British Columbia, taking the Province past the halfway mark toward the goal of 2,000 units for people who are homeless or at risk.
- The B.C. government is investing $291 million to build 2,000 modular-housing units and more than $170 million over three years to provide staffing and support services for the residents.
- Each modular building will provide self-contained units with personal kitchens and washrooms.
- The Province will be working with local governments and community partners to develop a homelessness action plan to reduce homelessness through permanent housing and services.
For more information about the B.C. government’s modular housing program, please visit: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/major-projects/modular-housing-initiative
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, please visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
A backgrounder follows.
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 around-the-clock 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.
Examples of services and supports:
- 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 de-cluttering, rent payment and repayment plans; and
- No-cost laundry services, either on-site or off-site.