Following the footsteps of its neighbours, Burnaby is on the verge of building its first housing project for the homeless.
An undeveloped, City-owned site at 3986 Norland Avenue – near Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West and next to Highway 1 – is slated to become a supportive housing development, with 52 homes dedicated exclusively to residents of Burnaby who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The project is proposed by BC Housing and is currently in its public consultation phase. Successful rezoning and building permit applications with the City of Burnaby are required to proceed.
Like other temporary modular social housing developments in the region, each home will be self-contained with its own private bathroom and kitchen. Residents will also have access to communal spaces and shared laundry facilities.
The development will be operated by Progressive Housing Society, with 24/7 staffing and support services such as life-skills training, health services, individualized case planning, employment planning, wellness checks, and connection and referral to community services and support groups.
Funding for the project – $7.6 million – is provided by the provincial government as part of its province-wide strategy of building new temporary and permanent affordable and social housing stock. This includes the construction of 2,000 modular units across BC by the end of 2019 at a cost of $291 million.
The modular structure in Burnaby will remain on the site for about five years.
Even though this project is temporary, it still provides Burnaby with its first dedicated homeless housing project. However, the jurisdiction still lacks year-round shelters.
According to the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count, there are 69 people experiencing homelessness in Burnaby, representing a 19% increase since 2014.
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