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New temporary modular housing units could help with Vancouver’s affordability crisis

Click to play video: 'Vancouver unveils new temporary modular homes' Vancouver unveils new temporary modular homes
Vancouver unveiled its latest solution, hopefully, to its affordability crisis: temporary modular homes. Ted Chernecki has more – Oct 24, 2016

It may not seem like much, but a 250-square-foot modular housing unit could be just what some people need in the midst of Vancouver’s housing crisis.

Mayor Gregor Roberston got his first look at one of these living spaces Monday, as he toured a display unit set up by Horizon North, who will eventually build a three-storey, 40-unit modular housing complex at a city lot near Main Street and Terminal Avenue.

“We’ve seen an immediate need for modular housing to address homelessness and people on very low incomes who can find no place to live in Vancouver right now,” Robertson said.

Each unit will contain what manufacturers call a “full kitchen,” with a bar fridge, two stove elements, a sink and a microwave. Rents will be between $800-$900 per month, but Vancouver’s chief housing officer Mukhtar Latif says the rent could be as low as $400 or $600 with subsidies for people with fixed incomes.

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The city is hoping that modular housing will be a key component in tempering the affordability crisis that has plagued the housing market. Part of that plan will be to make sure these homes don’t become permanent, allowing turnover and giving as many low-income residents as possible a fair shot at four walls and a roof.

“The intent is this is a place for people to stabilize and then move into permanent housing as vacancies arise,” said Latif.

Vancouver is hosting a week-long global summit this week to address the affordable housing crisis, inviting local, national and international experts to find solutions on how to improve affordability.

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