THE Province, through BC Housing, and the City of Abbotsford have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalizing their commitment to work together to develop new supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in the community.
“Our government is working hard to bring people living outside indoors where they can access the supports they need to stabilize their lives,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “We’re proud to work with partners such as the City of Abbotsford to deliver housing for the people who need it most. This is one of the many steps our government is taking to break the cycle of homelessness, and I am excited to see it move forward.”
As part of the MOU, BC Housing will apply to rezone the vacant city lots at 1640 and 1670 Riverside Road into a new permanent supportive housing building with approximately 50 new homes. If approved, construction would begin in fall 2022 and be completed by summer 2023. The new homes would be built adjacent to the existing Cole Starnes Place supportive housing building on the same property.
“The City of Abbotsford continues to work hard to advocate and find partnerships that will increase the number of homes for those who are unhoused and provide support services to people living in encampments, such as on Riverside,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun. “Having a memorandum of understanding isn’t just about one project – it’s a long-term commitment that we hope will help those who are at risk and experiencing homelessness.”
Lookout Health and Housing Society, an experienced non-profit housing provider, would operate the new building and would provide residents with support services, including daily meals, life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental-health resources and access to addiction treatment and recovery services. The society also operates Cole Starnes Place.
“We are beyond excited about the opportunity to offer support to residents of this project,” said Shayne Williams, CEO, Lookout Housing and Health Society. “We are proud to work alongside BC Housing and the City of Abbotsford on this, knowing the tremendous impact that this will have on the residents and community alike.”
In addition to the development of new supportive housing, BC Housing installed a temporary trailer with washrooms and showers next to Cole Starnes Place in November 2021 to support people sleeping outdoors in Abbotsford. BC Housing will continue to work with the city to identify other potential supportive housing options to address the need in the community.
Public engagement updates and details about the 1640 and 1670 Riverside Road project can be found at: letstalkhousingbc.ca/Abbotsford
- The temporary shelter that is operating beside Cole Starnes Place will be relocated to accommodate the new supportive housing development. BC Housing is working with the city to find an appropriate new home for the shelter and will update the public once a location has been determined.
- Since 2017, through investments by the Province, 406 new homes have opened or are underway in Abbotsford.