Supportive homes and stability for people in need in Vancouver


February 4, 2019

VANCOUVER – People experiencing homelessness will now have access to more supportive homes and a unique opportunity to learn new skills through a community gardening program.

The Province and the City of Vancouver celebrated their partnership at the grand opening of the 52-unit project, part of the British Columbia government’s commitment to build more than 2,000 supportive homes throughout the province, with 600 of those in Vancouver.

The new homes at 265 West 1st Ave. were built by B.C. manufacturer, Horizon North. Each unit will be 30 square metres (320 square feet) with a bathroom and kitchen. Six of the units will be fully wheelchair accessible.

“These homes are much more than just a place to sleep. These homes represent new beginnings and new opportunities for a better life,” said Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End. “Partnering with local farms, this project will also give residents and neighbours a chance to learn new skills and help others in their community. We all benefit when we help each other when in need.”

Like other supportive housing developments under the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the project offers residents round-the-clock services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.

“This latest building means that 52 more people in Vancouver will have a safe, warm place to call home,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, City of Vancouver. “Temporary modular housing provides immediate relief for those experiencing homelessness, and today’s opening means that over 550 new homes are now complete. We are grateful for our partnership with the Province and the tireless work of local non-profit organizations to deliver this critical housing, along with the important health and social services that will be provided on-site.”

The housing will be managed by the PHS Community Services Society, an experienced non-profit housing operator. Sole Food Street Farms, an urban farming project that transforms vacant urban land into street farms, will also offer training to tenants interested in learning more about growing quality fruits and vegetables, which are sold at farmer’s markets, local restaurants and retail outlets. The food grown will be used in meals served at the building.

The new homes bring the number of completed modular supportive homes built throughout the province to more than 800. A further 1,200 are underway as part of the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, which will deliver more than 2,000 modular supportive homes in 22 communities.

Quotes:

Andy Bond, executive director, PHS Community Services Society –
“For over 25 years, PHS has advocated for holistic communities where even the most marginalized citizens are able to connect and participate in their health and well-being in a dignified and meaningful way. PHS is proud to see aspects of that vision come to fruition at 265 West 1st. We’re excited to welcome 52 people to their new homes and partner with Sole Food Street Farms to explore the urban farm’s positive impact on the community at 265 West 1st."

Michael Ableman, founder/director, Sole Food Street Farms –
“We recognize the inextricable connection between clean safe secure housing, healthy food, meaningful employment and a connection to nature as a foundation for well-being.  We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring together these essential elements and create an innovative living environment that goes beyond just a room and a bed.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Government of B.C. provided $8.2 million for the project and will also provide an operating subsidy. The City of Vancouver provided the land for the development.
  • Residents will be charged a monthly rental rate of $375, which is the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to people who are experiencing homelessness.
  • 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.

Learn More:

Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians:
https://www.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

To find out more about PHS Community Services Society, go to: https://www.phs.ca

Two backgrounders follow.

Contacts:

Media Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 698-9176

City of Vancouver
Civic Engagement and Communications
media@vancouver.ca
604 871-6336

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing
604 456-8917

BACKGROUNDER 1

Services and supports provided for people in modular housing

All new modular housing buildings in the province are being provided with around-the-clock staffing to help youth, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical housing need.

The Province is investing $170 million over three years to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced non-profit housing providers will provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.

The services and supports that will be provided to youth, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless include:

  • meals;
  • connecting residents to community supports such as education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services;
  • individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
  • case planning and needs assessment;
  • other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs;
  • assistance to access income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
  • support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home; and
  • no-cost laundry services, either on- or off-site.

Contacts:

Media Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 698-9176

City of Vancouver
Civic Engagement and Communications
media@vancouver.ca
604 871-6336

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing
604 456-8917

BACKGROUNDER 2

Status of temporary modular housing projects in Vancouver

There are 554 new homes on nine sites complete and 52 homes on one site under construction, funded by the Province of British Columbia.

Opened sites:

  • Reiderman Residence: 7430 and 7460 Heather St., 78 homes
  • Chartrand Place: 1131 Franklin St., 39 homes
  • Aneki Housing for Women: 525 Powell St., 39 homes
  • Sarah Ross House: 4480 Kaslo St., 52 homes
  • M. Mitchell Place: 2132 Ash St., 52 homes
  • The Beach or ‘Tə cecəw’: 137 East 37th Ave., 46 homes
  • Larwill Place: 610 and 620 Cambie St., 98 homes
  • New Beginnings: 5077 and 5095 Heather St., 98 homes
  • 265 West 1st Ave., 52 homes

Under construction:

  • 258 Union St., 52 homes.

Contacts:

Media Relations
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 698-9176

City of Vancouver
Civic Engagement and Communications
media@vancouver.ca
604 871-6336

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing
604 456-8917