People experiencing homelessness in Vancouver are moving into 78 new supportive homes, with two more temporary modular housing projects opening in the City of Vancouver that will offer residents, including people with disabilities, a safe and stable place to call home.
“These new homes mean that close to 80 people, including previous residents of Sugar Mountain tent city, can come inside, have a roof over their heads and get the supports they need in a safe and secure environment,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As more of these homes begin to open, we are starting to see real progress in getting people off the street, and into the safe, secure and affordable homes that every person deserves.”
People are moving into 39 new supportive homes at 1131 Franklin St., and will soon do the same at another 39-unit modular housing building at 525 Powell St.
Residents at both sites will have access to 24/7 support services. These services include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
“When I last visited the site on Franklin Street, it was a tent city,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “At the time, people living here talked about wanting the opportunity to have secure, long-term housing. Today’s announcement is a step towards achieving that goal, by providing essential services and supporting their needs.”
Each studio home will include a self-contained kitchen and bathroom. A total of seven units at both 1131 Franklin St. and 525 Powell St. will be fully wheelchair accessible.
“Too many of my constituents have faced desperate circumstances in this housing crisis,” said Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. “There has been a severe lack of safe and affordable housing in our community, and we know that our partners, like PHS Community Services Society and Atira, have had to do more with less. I’m so proud that our government is collaborating with front line organizations and the City of Vancouver to deliver the urgent housing solutions needed throughout our community.”
So far, four temporary modular housing buildings, including 1131 Franklin St. and 525 Powell St. — providing more than 150 homes — have opened in the City of Vancouver, and two more buildings are in development or under construction.
“It’s great news that two more modular housing buildings are now open in Strathcona,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “These urgently needed homes will bring 78 people in off the streets, and provide them with the health and social supports they need. Vancouver’s housing market is incredibly challenging for people dealing with homelessness, and while more needs to be done, the city and Province’s partnership to build 600 temporary modular homes this year is a big step in the right direction.”
The building on Franklin Street will be operated by PHS Community Services Society. The building on Powell Street will be a women-only facility and operated by Atira Women’s Resource Society.
Jennifer Breakspear, executive director, PHS Community Services Society –
“This new modular housing will serve as a stopgap until there is permanent housing available for our residents. This project, developed with the city and BC Housing, means that residents will be able to call the project home for five years, with an option available to extend for a second five-year term. Our modular project will fit within our continuum of health and services, so that the folks who move in will receive the same care and support we provide to all PHS residents.”
Janice Abbott, CEO, Atira Women’s Resource Society –
“Led, staffed and inspired by women at every point in the organization, Atira is thrilled to be a part of this effort to add more women-only housing to the Downtown Eastside, a neighbourhood where women continue to experience disproportionate levels of violence and abuse. We are appreciative of the efforts of everyone who saw and supported the need for this critically important development and look forward to working with women in the community to continue to increase and improve women’s safety and security.”
- The Province is investing $66 million to deliver 600 modular homes in Vancouver.
- 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 1,600 new homes have started development throughout the province for people most in need.
- Budget 2018 provides further supports for people experiencing, or at risk of 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.
- The City of Vancouver is taking the following actions on permanent social and supportive housing:
- As part of the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the city has a target of 12,000 new units of permanent social and supportive housing over the next 10 years.
- From fall 2017 until the end of 2018, 1,000 new social and supportive housing units will open across Vancouver.
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians online: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: https://www.news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
To find out more about temporary modular housing in the City of Vancouver, go to: www.vancouver.ca/temporarymodularhousing
A backgrounder follows.