More than 2,000 people experiencing homelessness will soon have a place to call home, thanks to a partnership between the Province and municipalities that is building new, supportive homes in 22 communities around British Columbia.
“Ten months ago, the Premier and I stood in downtown Vancouver and committed to rolling out 2,000 units of modular housing over two years,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The response from communities has been incredible. Because of that, people experiencing homelessness are now getting the support they need in hundreds of new homes, with more than 2,000 either built or underway in 22 communities.”
Powell River is the 22nd B.C. municipality to reach a partnership with the Province to build modular housing through the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program. One final site will be announced in the coming weeks, which will bring the total number of modular homes delivered through this program to 2,064.
In Powell River, the Province is partnering with the city. The Regional Hospital District Board is providing land to build 40 self-contained homes that will each have their own bathroom and kitchen.
“Providing these supportive homes will make a huge difference in the lives of people who are struggling to find and maintain stable housing on the Sunshine Coast,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “The Province is making important investments to support communities. Along with the community advocates and those directly impacted by homelessness, we look forward to working together to build a better future for B.C.”
The flexibility of modular technology means that a range of buildings are being developed throughout B.C. in ways that fit the housing and support needs of the communities they are in. For example, repurposed temporary modular housing was used to quickly address a critical need in Surrey, while permanent four- and five-storey buildings with elevators and other amenities are being constructed in Kamloops.
New provincial investments in modular housing are also creating thousands of jobs and boosting local economies throughout the province.
Manufacturers from Kelowna, Penticton, Cumberland, Westbank and Kamloops are building the modular units, supporting the stability and growth of local businesses.
Responding to the success of this program and significant interest from B.C. communities, the Province is launching the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, part of Budget 2018, which will deliver an additional 2,500 new homes with 24/7 support services.
Dave Formosa, mayor, City of Powell River –
“I am very pleased to see this project that we have been diligently working on now for the past number of months coming to fruition. The need to help the hard to house and the vulnerable segment of our city’s population is of absolute importance to city council and all our citizens. I am very pleased with this initiative and thankful to our provincial government for continuing to listen to the needs of our community, as well as the special needs of certain citizens who need our help the most.”
Colin Palmer, chair, Regional Hospital District Board –
“Legislatively, the Regional Hospital District is purposed to aid in the establishment of health facilities. By becoming a partner, it is the objective of the board to facilitate in providing the necessary supports to help alleviate mental health issues and eliminate stigmas.”
- Construction for the modular housing project in Powell River is expected to start in fall 2018 and be complete by spring 2019. A non-profit operator has not yet been selected.
- BC Housing and its project partners will host a community information session to inform the public about the project on Sept. 17, 2018, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Powell River Public Library.
- Announced through the Budget 2017 Update, the Province is providing $291 million to build 2,000 units of modular supportive housing over two years, and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services.
- Construction of the modular units is expected to produce more than 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/major-projects/rapid-response-homelessness
To watch a video about the Rapid Response to Homelessness program, visit: https://youtu.be/7qq_MRa3zeA
Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/Building-BC/supportive-housing-fund
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.