Hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver now have warm, safe places to live, as the doors open on the final set of temporary modular homes the Province committed to funding in the city in fall 2017.
The Province and the City of Vancouver celebrated the grand opening of Nora Hendrix Place as part of the B.C. government’s commitment to build more than 2,000 supportive homes throughout the province, including 600 in partnership with the City of Vancouver.
“Working together towards a common purpose, we can achieve true progress. This is clear in how our partnership with the City of Vancouver has brought more than 600 people in off the streets and into new homes and a hopeful future,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are seeing the transformative power of housing for people in Vancouver, and we will continue to work with communities and partners to help people struggling with homelessness, here and throughout British Columbia.”
The 52 new homes at 258 Union St. were built by B.C. manufacturer Horizon North. Each unit is 29.7 square metres (320 square feet) with a bathroom and kitchen. Six of the units are fully wheelchair accessible. The supportive housing will be managed by the PHS Community Services Society, an experienced non-profit housing operator.
Hogan’s Alley Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to redressing the displacement of the Black community from Strathcona, is partnering with PHS to help ensure the success of Nora Hendrix Place.
Like other supportive housing developments under the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the building offers residents round-the-clock services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
Named after a prominent member of the Black community, Nora Hendrix Place prioritizes Black and Indigenous residents who are experiencing homelessness. Located in the Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood, the name also recognizes and honours the legacy of Strathcona’s former Black community.
“In just a year and a half, the City and Province have created 606 new homes, providing immediate relief for people who might be living outside or in shelters across the city,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver. “Partnerships with other levels of government are critical in the delivery of this urgently needed housing, and we value the tireless work of the local non-profit organizations like PHS Community Services Society who provide important health and social services for residents at every building. With the opening of Nora Hendrix Place, more than 50 people who have experienced homelessness in Vancouver now have a safe, warm home to call their own. And thanks to our partnership with Hogan’s Alley Society, we’re prioritizing the needs of Black and Indigenous people who face persistent social and economic exclusion.”
BC Housing, the City of Vancouver and PHS are working with the Hogan’s Alley Society to ensure the temporary modular homes reflect and advance the long-term vision of this site developed by the Black community as part of the City of Vancouver’s Northeast False Creek plan.
Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant —
“The new homes at Nora Hendrix Place exemplify what it means to put people first and invest in their futures. We know that when people have the basics, like a safe, warm place to call home and access to the support they need to get back on track, we are building healthier communities in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.”
Andy Bond, executive director, PHS Community Services Society —
“The housing at 258 Union is powerful in the systemic and long-reaching effects of colonialism and anti-Blackness it addresses. We believe that by combining compassionate approaches in harm reduction and low-barrier housing services with the development of safe, authentic and intentional community programming, we are venturing into a community-wide partnership that will be most effective in disrupting the legacy underinvestment for Black and Black-identified communities in Vancouver.”
June Francis, co-chair, Hogan’s Alley Society —
“Temporary modular housing on the Hogan’s Alley block is the first important step in our alignment with the vision created as part of the Northeast False Creek Plan that will redress the past displacement of Black citizens that occurred in this neighbourhood. We are committed to working with the city, the Province and PHS on the success of this new housing. We will continue to work with the City of Vancouver towards delivering on the policy regarding Hogan’s Alley, which includes the city's commitment to exploring land trusts, long-term leases and the establishment of an African Canadian cultural centre.”
- The Government of B.C. provided $8.8 million in capital funding for Nora Hendrix Place and will also provide operating funding.
- Residents will be charged a monthly rental rate of $375, which is the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province.
- 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 900 supportive homes are now open throughout the province, with a further 1,100 underway in 22 communities throughout B.C.
- Budget 2019 introduced a homelessness action plan with $76 million dedicated to supporting land acquisition and services to build an additional 200 modular homes this year.
- This is on top of funding 2,500 new supportive housing units over 10 years for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund.
To read the release in Punjabi, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Punjabi-News_Release.pdf
To read the release in traditional Chinese, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/trad_chinese_0303.pdf
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 the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/Building-BC/supportive-housing-fund
To find out more about temporary modular housing in the City of Vancouver, visit: www.vancouver.ca/temporarymodularhousing
To find out more about PHS Community Services Society, visit: www.phs.ca
Two backgrounders follow.