Modular housing for the homeless approved for Vancouver's Little Mountain site

Jun 7 2018, 1:56 am

Another temporary modular housing project for the homeless has been approved by the municipal government.

The City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board has approved the municipal government’s own application to build a three-storey temporary modular housing building at 137 East 37th Avenue – near the northwest corner of the intersection of Main Street and East 37th Avenue – within the Little Mountain property.

It will have 46 homes, with each single-occupancy unit about 320 sq. ft. in size and containing a kitchenette, bathroom, and individual heating and cooling. Six homes will be wheelchair accessible. A large indoor amenity space with a commercial kitchen and a shared front yard with tables and gardening planters will encourage social interaction amongst residents.

Non-profit housing operator Coast Mental Health has been selected to oversee tenanting and the management of the building, which will also include laundry facilities, an administration office, and meeting rooms for 24/7 support services relating to life skills training, volunteer work, employment preparation, and connections to community-based programs.

Alberta-based Horizon North, which has constructed all of the municipality’s modular housing buildings to date, will build the project. Construction will begin this month for a completion in October.

595 & 599 West 2nd Avenue Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the temporary modular housing site at 595-599 West 2nd Avenue in Vancouver, next to Olympic Village Station. (City of Vancouver)

According to the city, the temporary building will remain on the site for about three years, before it is dismantled and possibly relocated to another location. It will not delay the phased construction of the permanent Little Mountain redevelopment project by local developer Holborn Group.

The redevelopment of Little Mountain, a 15.2-acre property immediately east of Queen Elizabeth Park, was approved in 2016 and includes 1,300 market housing units, 282 social housing units, community centre with daycare, retail and commercial space, and ample public spaces. Construction of the first phase of Little Mountain, which includes 164 permanent social housing units, could begin later this year.

So far, about 400 temporary modular homes are either built, approved, or in the development permit stage:

Approved homes (306 units)

Development permit stage (approximately 100 units)

  • 688 Cambie Street (approximately 100 homes, the site of the future Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver)

While the City of Vancouver is leading the process, the modular housing building projects are funded by the provincial government as part of a $66-million plan to build 600 units of temporarily modular homes within Vancouver between 2017 and 2021.

It is all part of a wider strategy as the provincial government plans to construct 2,000 modular units across BC over two years at a cost of $291 million. Another $170 million has been set aside to provide staffing and support services for the modular housing buildings over three years.

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