More people who are experiencing homelessness in Vancouver will have safe and secure homes with the opening of M. Mitchell Place, a 52-unit supportive housing project.
“We are working hard, in partnership with the City of Vancouver and our non-profit partners, to make sure people in need have a place to call their own,” said George Heyman, MLA for Vancouver-Fairview. “These much-needed new homes will not only give people comfort and security, but also around the clock support so they can focus on other areas of their lives.”
The grand opening marked the latest step taken by the Province and the city towards creating 600 supportive homes in Vancouver. There are now 260 new homes on five sites complete and 346 homes on five other sites at various stages of the development and approval process.
“It’s great to see the doors open on another 52 homes, moving us one step closer to our goal of bringing 600 people in off the street and providing them with the supports and resources they need to get back on track,” said Gregor Robertson, mayor, City of Vancouver. “This is about more than providing someone with a roof over their head — this new housing will help to build the sense of pride and stability that comes with being able to call a place home.”
The temporary modular building located at 2132 Ash St. will be staffed 24/7 and provide life enhancing services to residents such as meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
The building is dedicated to the memory of Margaret Mitchell, who served as the member of Parliament for Vancouver East for 14 years. She was a pioneer in community development, a tireless advocate for housing and a fearless activist, supporting people who are living in poverty. She was instrumental in bringing violence against women and domestic abuse into the political spotlight.
Created as part of the Province’s Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the temporary modular homes will be operated by PHS Community Services.
“We would like to thank our partners at BC Housing and the City of Vancouver for working with us to provide housing and services to those most in need, and we are excited to welcome 52 tenants to their new homes,” said Jennifer Breakspear, executive director, PHS Community Services. “Margaret Mitchell worked to make change for a cause that she believed in and in doing so, helped countless people all over B.C. and Canada. That kind of compassion and tenacity deeply resonates with PHS’ culture of supporting those in need.”
The new homes were constructed by B.C. manufacturer Horizon North, and each home contains a bathroom and kitchen.
“With modular construction, the timeline for building a housing project can be reduced by 30% to 50%, which means that the gap in accommodation for individuals vulnerable to displacement can be addressed more quickly,” said Rod Graham, president and chief executive officer of Horizon North. “Off-site construction is a fast, effective response to the growing issue of homelessness in communities throughout the province, and we’re happy to be a part of this effort to give vulnerable people the safe, stable environment they need to rebuild their lives.”
The B.C. government provided capital funding of $8 million and will provide an annual operating and support service subsidy for M. Mitchell Place.
- 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 now 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. The city expects nearly 900 permanent social and supportive homes to open in 2018, 500 of which are already open and tenanted.
- 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.
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.