Province to spend $66M on 600 Vancouver modular housing units

Premier John Horgan talks about building more housing

Premier John Horgan has committed to funding the construction of 600 units of modular affordable housing units in the City of Vancouver.

The units, which will be prioritized as transitional housing for the homeless, will come with a price tag of $66 million.

Compared to traditional homes, this form of housing is relatively inexpensive to build; the units can be disassembled and moved as needs be.

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Housing Minister Selina Robinson called the units an important first step in tackling the province’s homelessness and housing crises.

“We need to remember, it is only a temporary solution. There is so much more work to do,” she said.

“It will not only provide people in need with a roof over their head. It will provide them with the chance to stabilize, be connected to be community, to community health services, and begin to rebuild their lives. In fact, it will be an opportunity for them to actually have a home.”

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Speaking to delegates at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) on Friday, Horgan admitted that launching his new government’s housing plans has taken longer than he hoped.

“There are a few areas that I was hopeful we could tackle right away and one of those is housing affordability and addressing speculation in the housing market,” he said.

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The City of Vancouver, which is providing the land for the housing units, had previously set a goal of having 600 of the modular units online by the end of the year.

Each building will have about 50 units, complete with their own kitchens and bathrooms, along with shared laundry and programming facilities.

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Forty units have already been built as a part of a pilot project at 220 Terminal Avenue.

In a news release Friday, the province said it hoped to have “a number of the units” up and running by the winter.

In his Friday speech, Horgan also pledged 150 of the temporary modular units for Surrey, and an unspecified number for the small northern community of Smithers.

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He also encouraged delegates from other municipalities with homelessness issues to approach the province if they’re interested in having units built in their communities.

The commitments are part of the NDP government’s plan, announced in its September budget update, to build 2,000 units in communities across the province over the next two years.

The NDP government has set aside $291 in capital funding for construction of those units, along with $172 million over three years for staff and operating costs.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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