The Government of British Columbia and the City of Courtenay are partnering to build new modular housing, which will provide a rapid response to the need for supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.
“Like so many regions of the province, the Comox Valley has been dealing with an increase in homelessness, and these homes will provide the help that is so desperately needed,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Treating people with dignity, giving them vital support services, and creating an independent living environment is the foundation people need to get back on their feet.”
Supportive housing, as part of the government’s Rapid Response to Homelessness program, enables individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness to transition to more stable, independent living by providing longer-term housing with individualized support services.
“I’m thrilled the city and our government are partnering to build this much-needed housing,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “The modular housing will get people off the streets and into a safe and secure home, where they’ll be connected to the wellness and employment services they need.”
Each of the 46 new homes will include a private bathroom and kitchen. Residents will have access to shared amenities, such as laundry, as well as 24/7 support services, including meal programs and employment and life-skills training.
“We know there is a critical need for supportive housing in the Comox Valley. This facility would help people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, access services and support systems in a stable, safe, supervised environment,” said Larry Jangula, mayor of the City of Courtenay. “We look forward to working with BC Housing, local homeless support agencies, and the community, as this process moves forward.”
The homes are proposed to be built on city-owned land at 988 - 8th St., which will require an amendment to the current zoning. Pending municipal approvals, construction is anticipated to begin in summer 2018, in order to have the homes ready for the winter. The John Howard Society of North Island has been selected to operate the housing and provide support services for residents.
"The John Howard Society of North Island is thrilled to partner with BC Housing and the City of Courtenay on this greatly needed housing project. As is the case in communities across B.C., there is a lack of safe and affordable housing in the Comox Valley,” said Wendy Richardson, executive director, The John Howard Society of North Island. “These homes will bring approximately 46 people in off the streets, and provide them with nutritious meals, as well as health and social supports tailored to their needs."
The community is invited to attend the public hearing for the project on May 22, 2018, at 5 p.m. in city hall council chambers. Questions or comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program is part of the government’s action to address the housing needs of British Columbia.
- The Courtenay modular homes are a 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 for people most in need have started development in 17 communities 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
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
A backgrounder follows.