FOLLOWING several nights of public hearing and receiving feedback from over 200 members of the public, Vancouver City Council on Tuesday approved the plan for a new development at 2086-2098 West 7th Avenue and 2091 West 8th Avenue.
The City, provincial, and federal governments are taking collective action to address the critical needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Vancouver, as well as those seeking affordable housing. The creation of new permanent supportive housing will provide residents with safe, secure, and affordable homes with onsite support services, the City said.
This is the second of five City-owned sites that support an MOU (signed in August 2020 by the City of Vancouver, CMHC, and BC Housing) to deliver 350 permanent supportive homes using modular construction.
The building will include 129 studio homes – all units have their own private bathroom and kitchen and approximately 15 per cent of the homes will be fully accessible. The homes will serve low-income residents, including people of all genders, seniors and people with disabilities.
MPA Society has been selected as the non-profit operator of the building to deliver 24/7 support services to residents and manage the building.
With the site rezoning now approved, the project will proceed with a development permit application. BC Housing and the federal government will provide the capital funding for the development, BC Housing will provide operational funding, and construction on the project is anticipated to start in late 2023.
This application was considered under the Affordable Housing Policies.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said: “As more and more neighbours are pushed to the streets due to a lack of supportive housing, this project provides hope of a better way forward. More than 100 residents will soon have their own place to call home, with wrap-around services which will ensure they are well supported,” said. “Today’s approval shows our commitment to building a more compassionate city where housing for everyone is available in all neighbourhoods.”
Murray Rankin, Acting Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, said: “Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness is desperately needed in the City of Vancouver. This project will provide 129 homes for people in need. The building will be professionally managed, but if issues come up, we will be quick to address concerns because we want this to be a success, and we need housing like this in the city.”
Nick Blackman, Executive Director, MPA Society, said: “MPA Society was formed 51 years ago in Kitsilano by a group of local residents who wanted to improve the mental health services available in their community. Over many years, MPA has evolved into a member-based organization with 35 housing programs and community services located across the Lower Mainland supporting over 1000 individuals.”
He added: “We are committed to the process of reconciliation and recognizing and addressing the roots of health care inequities experienced by the Indigenous populations. We strive for all members, staff and visitors to experience a culturally safe, supportive and inclusive environment. We feel this project would provide hope to those most in need of housing and supports. MPA aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and substance use challenges, be a valued member in our communities and be the foundation on which our members can build their paths to recovery.”