The Province is working with the City of Abbotsford on two new supportive housing buildings for people struggling with homelessness, including one building focused on helping women experiencing homelessness transition toward more permanent housing.
“The combination of the new housing and the work the Elizabeth Fry Society is doing is an important step in responding to the specific housing needs of women who are homeless in the Fraser Valley,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This building, along with the one operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society, will give people in the community struggling with homelessness the stability and support services they need to make a fresh start.”
The first site will be located at 31399 Livingstone Ave. and will provide up to 39 modular homes for women. The Elizabeth Fry Society owns the land and will operate the building. The units will feature private bathrooms. Residents will have access to amenity spaces like a shared kitchen and laundry facilities. Already, there are 27 units on site for women and children, who are at risk of homelessness, which will continue to operate.
The second site will be located on city-owned land at 1640 Riverside Rd. and will provide up to 44 modular homes and will include a 40-space shelter operating at the location. The creation of housing on site will allow clients of the shelter, who are able to live more independently, to move to the new supportive housing development. Lookout Housing and Health Society will operate both the modular housing and the shelter.
Residents at both sites will have access to 24/7 support services, which includes meal programs, life and employment skills training, and health and wellness support services to help residents overcome challenges to maintaining their housing.
BC Housing will provide opportunities for public feedback as required by the municipal approvals process.
Henry Braun, mayor, City of Abbotsford –
“Abbotsford has committed to a Housing First approach to meet our goal of becoming a city where everyone has a home. We are very pleased with this announcement from the Government of B.C. that will provide additional resources for those most at risk in our community. These new facilities will enable us to better respond to the immediate housing and support needs of our community.”
Shawn Bayes, executive director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver –
“This supportive housing will help fill a critical need for extremely marginalized women in Abbotsford. As most homeless women have experienced trauma, having housing designated as women-only makes a significant contribution towards their feelings of safety and ability to begin rebuilding their lives.”
Shayne Williams, executive director, Lookout Society –
“Lookout Housing and Health Society is excited to be operating a 40-unit supportive transitional modular building in Abbotsford, located adjacent to the Riverside shelter. Homelessness has increased in communities across B.C., including Abbotsford, where the homeless population counted in 2017 increased by 73% from 2014. Recognizing a strong need for wrap-around services, Lookout is looking forward to collaborating with the City of Abbotsford, BC Housing and project partners to provide long-term support to the community’s most vulnerable populations.”
- The Province is investing approximately $12 million in the two modular housing projects in Abbotsford.
- This is part of a provincewide investment of $291 million to build 2,000 homes around the province, and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services.
- Through this program, more than 1,500 new homes for people most in need have started development throughout the province.
- Budget 2018 provides further supports for people struggling with homelessness with the announcement of an additional 2,500 new homes with 24/7 support services.
- 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.
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
A backgrounder follows.