THE Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver has announced the approval of a development permit to build two buildings for a total of 98 new temporary modular supportive homes at 1580 Vernon Drive.
BC Housing and the City of Vancouver are taking collective action to address the critical needs of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver. The approval of the new buildings follows the completion of more than 660 temporary modular homes, all funded by the Province, in locations across Vancouver since 2018, which have provided immediate relief for hundreds of people who now have a safe, warm place to call home.
“With the approval of Vernon Drive, we are celebrating the approval of more than 750 temporary modular homes in Vancouver thanks to our partnership with the Province of British Columbia,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Combined with an additional 350 permanent modular homes, this landmark housing agreement will change the lives of more than 1,000 people and proves that residents across Vancouver are eager to open their communities up to neighbours in need and help us transform into a city that works for everyone.”
BC Housing has partnered with Community Builders Group (CBG) as the non-profit housing operator for this new location.
Homes with supports help create safe, inclusive communities for everyone. CBG will provide 24/7 support services to the tenants. Tenants who move into this supportive housing will have:
- A safe, warm place to call home
- Access to the necessities of life such as food, washrooms and laundry
- An opportunity to begin to heal from the damage caused by living outside
- An opportunity to reconnect to community
Once the buildings open, there will be a 24/7 phone line available to the community to call with any building-related questions or concerns.
A condition of the development permit includes establishing a Community Advisory Committee, consisting of members of the public and program partners, to represent community interests and provide an ongoing forum for information sharing and dialogue.
As part of the development permit process, the City hosted a week long online virtual open house session in December 2020 to collect public feedback on the proposal. City staff also conducted walkabouts to businesses in the area.
The City received 24 survey responses on the proposal, the majority of which noted support for the building and delivery of supportive housing. Some survey responses noted concerns with the development and others opposed the provision of supportive housing at this location. In response to feedback on how to improve the design of the building, the City and BC Housing will:
- Enhance lighting on the outside of the building
- Preserve as many trees as possible on the site
- Include landscape along the front of the building to provide screening to bolster privacy
Construction is anticipated to begin in March with the buildings expected to open in the summer of 2021. BC Housing has contracted NRB Modular Solutions Ltd. to construct the temporary modular housing.
Each new home will be approximately 320 square feet in size. The homes will include a kitchenette, bathroom, living/sleeping area, and individual heating, allowing the residents autonomy in their living spaces. Six of the homes in each building will be wheelchair accessible. The buildings will also include a large indoor amenity space with a commercial kitchen and a dining space for residents to gather. Two meals will be provided to the residents each day. There will be common laundry facilities, an administration office, and meeting rooms for the staff and residents to use to provide services.
A Community Liaison is available to answer ongoing questions on the project during construction until the building is complete. Their contact number is 604-829-9321.
There will be new sidewalk and street lighting improvements introduced along a portion of Vernon Drive and Grant Street as part of the development.
The Government of BC is funding the construction of the new supportive housing and providing operational funding. In just over two years, the Province has opened more than 2,000 supportive homes, including more than 1,000 in Vancouver, as part of the 4,700 that will be completed over 10 years.
Creating more supportive homes
The Government of BC announced proposed sites for two new permanent supportive housing buildings in Vancouver in February, which will create homes for more than 200 people experiencing homelessness. You can learn more and share feedback on their website.