New housing offers hope and stability for people in Powell River


November 8, 2019

POWELL RIVER – People experiencing homelessness in Powell River are settling into safe, secure homes with support services as new permanent housing opens in their community.

“This supportive housing is a critical resource for our community, providing a safe and positive environment for people with the wrap-around supports that will result in better health and well-being,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “We are thankful for the community partnerships that have resulted in these wonderful homes that give people dignity, hope and an opportunity to focus on making healthy decisions for themselves.

The three-storey modular building at 4910 Joyce Avenue is close to community services and features 44 self-contained units, with private washrooms, showers and mini kitchens. Four of the units on the ground floor are wheelchair-accessible. Shared amenities include an office, laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area where residents can enjoy meals together. The building also has a medical room to provide on-site care for residents.

“The City of Powell River is pleased to see this much needed Supportive housing opening,” said George Doubt, Acting Mayor, City of Powel River. “Although there is still much to do, this project will fill an urgent need in our community.”

Lift Community Services, formerly PREP Community Programs, will work in partnership with Life Cycle Housing Society to provide around-the-clock services for residents. Supports will be provided by experienced staff and tailored for the residents, including two meals daily, employment and life-skills training, and health and wellness services. By providing safe, secure housing along with these wrap-around services, supportive housing helps improve residents’ quality of life and reduces their use of health and social services in the long term.

“We are excited and honoured to be involved in a provincial project that puts people first, acknowledges the inherent dignity of every person, and recognizes that safe and secure housing is foundational to any path of getting healthier, feeling connected to your community, and living a fulfilling life,” said Stuart Clark, Executive Director, Lift Community Services. “We are proud to be leading this program for our community, and having such a reputable partner in Life Cycle working beside us almost guarantees our success.”

Pat Christie, treasurer, Life Cycle Housing Society, said, “This project is a great example of what co-operation and collaboration can achieve. We thank the q’athet Regional District and the city for the land and lease agreement, the provincial government for the building and for financing support services, Lift Community Services for taking on the operations and also our community neighbours for their patience. We look forward to more partnerships to increase housing options in our region because safe, affordable housing makes communities better for everyone.”

ATCO was selected by the Province to manufacture the modular units in Powell River and several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • New reports show that supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness is substantially improving the quality of life for residents and reducing their use of emergency health services. The full reports and a summary of the results can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/modular-supportive-housing-resident-outcomes-reports
  • The Province invested $10.4 million in capital and construction costs and will provide a one-time grant of up to $100,000 for the operational start-up cost, and an annual operating subsidy of $1 million for the project, which is being funded through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program
  • Residents will be charged a monthly rate of $375, which is the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to people experiencing homelessness
  • In just over two years, the government of B.C. has built more than 2,000 supportive homes, with over 800 more underway, as part of 4,700 units over 10 years

Learn More:

Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program: https://www.bchousing.org/projects-partners/Building-BC/RRH-program

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

Two backgrounders follow.

Media Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 698-9176

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org

BACKGROUNDER 1

Services and supports provided for modular housing

All new modular housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.

The Province is providing annual operating funding to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced staff provide support to tenants, based on their assessed needs.

Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, include:

  • both on-site supports and connection to additional specialized supports in their community;
  • supports that are tailored to the needs of the residents, including education and
  • employment opportunities, and health and wellness services, including mental health and addiction treatment programs;
  • individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
  • meals;
  • case planning and needs assessment;
  • other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs;
  • help accessing 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-site or off-site.

Media Contacts:

Darren Harbord
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
250 882-8518

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org

BACKGROUNDER 2

Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs

The B.C. government is working in partnership to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.

Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 22,000 new homes are completed, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live, from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Aug. 31, 2019, this includes:

Housing for middle-income earners (households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $150,000) – approximately 4,120 homes:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 1,500 rental homes for people with middle incomes.
  • HousingHub: approximately 2,620 homes.

Housing for people with low to moderate incomes (including some where rents are based on 30% of household income and others with set rents, which are designed to be affordable; to moderate-income households, in most cases earning less than $70,000 annually) – approximately 9,320 homes:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 3,700 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Program: nearly 1,600 homes for low to moderate incomes.
  • Deepening Affordability Fund: more than 2,150 homes for low to moderate incomes.
  • Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: approximately 1,170 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve.
  • Regional Housing First Program: approximately 700 homes for people with low to moderate incomes.

Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness (shelter-rate housing) – approximately 3,060 homes:

  • Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,064 homes with 24/7 support.
  • Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: approximately 800 homes with 24/7 support.
  • Regional Housing First Program: approximately 200 homes for those ready to live independently with supports.

Housing for women and children leaving violence – approximately 360 homes:

  • Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: approximately 360 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence.

Housing for students – approximately 5,600 homes:

  • BC Student Housing Loan Program: approximately 2,700 on-campus student housing units are underway or in the approvals process.
  • Nearly 2,900 student housing units are also underway or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions.

Total: approximately 22,460 homes

Media Contacts:

Darren Harbord
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
250 882-8518

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org