Sarah Ross House, a new modular housing building developed in partnership by the Government of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver, is opening its doors and offering 52 homes for people in need.
“Everyone deserves a safe, comfortable place to call home,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Together with the City of Vancouver and local non-profits, we are moving quickly to get people off the street and into real homes with 24/7 supports.”
Sarah Ross House, like other modular buildings created as part of the Province’s Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, offers round-the-clock services to residents. These include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
“We are closing in on our goal of providing 600 temporary modular homes for some of our most vulnerable residents in neighbourhoods across the city,” said Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver. “Not only does temporary modular housing provide a safe and stable home for people who were formerly living on the streets or in shelters, residents will also have access to the support services they need to get back on track in the community. I want to thank the B.C. government for partnering with Vancouver on urgent, effective actions to solve homelessness.”
Today’s grand opening marks the latest step taken by the Province and the city towards creating 600 supportive homes in Vancouver. With the opening of Sarah Ross House, 208 new homes on four sites are complete, and approximately 350 homes on five further sites are in various stages of the development process.
The building is named in honour of an early resident of the Collingwood neighbourhood. Sarah Ross of the Neskonlith Indian Band arrived in Vancouver from Kamloops to escape racism, according to her letters and diaries. She lived in the area with her extended family until her death in the late 1950s. Her family still lives in the neighbourhood.
The building will be run by Atira, an experienced non-profit housing operator.
“We are thrilled to be managing Sarah Ross House, which will provide critical supportive housing for people in Vancouver and in particular, the Collingwood and Renfrew Heights communities,” said Janice Abbott, CEO, Atira. “We know what a positive difference housing can make in someone’s life and in increasing and improving the health of a community. We look forward to welcoming tenants to their new homes and to becoming an important and contributing part of the neighbourhood.”
The new homes at 4480 Kaslo St. were constructed by local B.C. manufacturer, Horizon North. Each home will be almost 30 square metres (320 square feet) and contain a bathroom and kitchen. Six of the units will be fully wheelchair accessible.
The building will also include a large amenity space with a commercial kitchen and will provide a communal space for the residents to gather. There will also be laundry facilities, a staff room, an office and meeting rooms for the staff and residents.
- The B.C. government provided capital funding of $7.7 million and will provide an annual operating and support service subsidy for Sarah Ross House.
- Through the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, 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.
- More than 2,000 new homes have been confirmed in 22 B.C. communities in less than a year.
- 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 City of Vancouver is taking the following actions on permanent social and supportive housing:
- Continuing to approve and open new affordable homes to respond to the housing crisis and homelessness. In 2017, approximately 200 permanent social and supportive homes opened across Vancouver. In 2018 so far, nearly 400 permanent social and supportive housing units have opened and nearly 500 more permanent social and supportive housing units are expected to open.
- As part of the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the city has a target of approving 12,000 new units of permanent social and supportive housing over the next 10 years.
For a map of the Province's Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness projects, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Building_BC_Rapid_Response_Homelessness_Map.pdf
Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/Building-BC/rapid-response-homelessness
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 more about temporary modular housing in the City of Vancouver, go to: www.vancouver.ca/temporarymodularhousing
Two backgrounders follow.