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 Avenue 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 Vancouver 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.