More people in Vancouver experiencing homelessness will have safe and secure homes with support services with the opening of 144 supportive housing units.
“Today, we are taking another important step forward in helping people who have been struggling for far too long in this community,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End. “These homes, and the ones like them that are opening around the province, will change the lives of thousands of people who currently don’t have a place to call home.”
Two more modular housing projects have opened in the city, bringing the total number of completed supportive homes around the province to nearly 700. A further 1,400 units are underway as part of the Rapid Response to Homelessness program, which will deliver more than 2,000 modular supportive homes for people who need them.
Larwill Place, located at 610/620 Cambie St., provides 98 units within two three-storey buildings. MPA Society will manage and operate both buildings. Larwill Place is dedicated to the memory of Al Larwill, the original caretaker of the Cambie Grounds, a park formerly located on the site in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Beach, located at 137 E. 37th Ave., provides 46 units within a three-storey building. Coast Mental Health operates and manages the building. The temporary modular building was named by the Musqueam Indian Band and is a metaphor for the place people gather to share stories that guide people's life journey in their ‘soul canoe.’
The new supportive housing units are the result of a partnership between the Province and the City of Vancouver to create more than 600 supportive homes in Vancouver.
“Vancouver is working with the Province and our partners to take bold action to tackle homelessness with these 404 new temporary modular homes,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver. “With the opening of Larwill Place and The Beach, or tə cecəw, hundreds of people will now have shelter from the cold as well as their own kitchen, bathroom and bed. The Musqueam community says tə cecəw is a place where people gather to share information to help navigate their journey through life. These buildings aim to provide just that: life skills training, health and social services as well as two meals a day, so that people experiencing homelessness may go on to successfully rebuild their lives.”
Both temporary modular sites will be staffed 24/7 and provide life-enhancing services to residents such as meal programs, life-skills training, employment preparation, health and social support services, and opportunities for volunteer work. Each building includes a ground floor amenities space, commercial kitchen, dining/lounge area, offices and a staff room, laundry room and storage space.
The B.C. government provided capital funding of $16.2 million for Larwill Place and $8 million for The Beach, and will provide annual operating funding for both projects. Vancouver Coastal Health will provide additional operational funding to Larwill Place for 20 units for people experiencing mental-health challenges and/or addictions.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the B.C. Green caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Caitlin Etherington, operations director, Complex Rehab and Supportive Housing, Vancouver Coastal Health –
“These residents have chronic, complex health issues, and many of them are used to being on the street, using the emergency department for health care and then going back to the streets or a shelter. We’re aiming to stop this cycle. There will be a nurse, mental-health worker and care aide on site who will give residents better co-ordinated comprehensive care.”
Dave MacIntyre, executive director, MPA Society –
“MPA Society is excited to welcome 98 residents into these two buildings and help start the process of recovery, which looks different for each individual, through support, empowerment, autonomy and responsibility. By providing each person with their own self-contained apartment, a warm meal, support staff and access to a variety of services, the process of building connections and healing can start.”
Darrell Burnham, CEO, Coast Mental Health –
“Coast Mental Health has been part of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood for more than 45 years with a focus on our clients and their families. We continue to advocate for and support people with mental illness. As a part of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, we’re humbled by the ongoing warmth, generosity and support for Coast and our clients that is extended to us by the people living in this community.”
- Through the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province is investing $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.
- 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 more than 600 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.