he B.C. government is working with the City of Vancouver to build 90 units of housing to help clear out the ongoing encampments in CRAB Park and East Hastings Street.
On Wednesday, Premier David Eby announced the two temporary bridge-to-housing projects will also be equipped with 24/7 supports.
The province says it is committed to coordinating service delivery in the Downtown Eastside, including working with local business associations, housing providers, the city and the federal government.
“We need to do more to help people off the street, into dignified shelters and then into stable housing where they can access health supports and rebuild their lives,” Eby said.
“These temporary modular homes will, and serve as a bridge to health supports and more permanent housing. This is just one part of our work to address homelessness and unsafe encampments.”
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The modular homes will be located at 1500 Main St. and 2132 Ash St., with both buildings scheduled to open in March 2023.
They will be in place for at least three years.
The new homes will be offered to people currently living in shelters with a goal of creating more shelter spaces for people currently residing in unsafe encampments.
Both new housing projects are undergoing an accelerated development permit approval process through the City of Vancouver.
Last week, Eby appointed Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon to lead the coordinated effort to address housing, public safety and mental health resources in the Downtown Eastside.
“These supported homes will help people move from shelters to transitional housing and get the supports they need to stabilize their lives and make long-term housing a reality,” Kahlon said.
Since 2017, BC Housing has partnered with non-profit housing providers, municipalities and health authorities to fund and open more than 4,800 new supportive housing spaces throughout the province.
The coordinated service delivery has received significant support from municipal leaders, police leadership and members of the community.
A recent uptick in repeat offenders being arrested and released has been tied to a lack of mental health and housing support.
Eby has committed to providing those mental health supporters while working to remove housing encampments as safely and quickly as possible.
“We are in the midst of one of the greatest crises facing our city’s history,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said.
“We applaud the provincial government’s continued response to the call for greater senior-level involvement in the crisis on the Downtown Eastside.”