BC government to build 600 modular housing units in Vancouver

Sep 30 2017, 6:12 am

The provincial government is kickstarting a modular housing building boom within the city of Vancouver.

Earlier today, Premier John Horgan announced a funding commitment of $66 million to fund the construction of 600 modular housing units on land provided by the City of Vancouver.

The fast-to-build units are meant to be temporary structures to quickly address the region’s homelessness crisis in a cost-efficient way.

“It’s fantastic to see the Province step up to help solve homelessness,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“The City is ready to work quickly to make sure these temporary homes are built as soon as possible to get our most vulnerable residents off the streets and into safe, secure housing until more permanent options are available.”

Each modular housing building will have roughy 50 self-contained units, fully furnished with individual kitchens and bathrooms. There will also be shared laundry, indoor and outdoor amenity spaces, and programming spaces within each building.

Inside the modular housing building at the corner of Terminal Avenue and Main Street. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Non-profit housing operators and support services will staff the buildings around the clock to assist people in need with stabilizing and rebuilding their lives.

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, with the first 1,000 units completed in early-2018. Another $170 million has been set aside to provide staffing and support services for the modular housing buildings over three years.

The units are meant to be temporary, as the residents will later be moved into permanent structures when ready.

“There are too many people living on the street in Vancouver and across the province,” said Selina Robinson, BC Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These modular units will provide interim homes in the short term while we act on the more permanent housing solutions that are needed. These are an important first step in developing the comprehensive housing strategy British Columbians need.”

Inside the modular housing building at the corner of Terminal Avenue and Main Street. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

In the meantime, as announced in the recent budget, the provincial government is also developing plans to build 1,700 permanent affordable rental housing units over four years at a cost of $208 million.

Early this year, the City of Vancouver completed its first modular housing project at a City-owned site on the southeast corner of Main Street and Terminal Avenue. The three-storey, 40-unit building was rapidly built in just two months for $3 million.

Modular structures cost just a small fraction of a permanent conventional structure, and can be disassembled and reassembled at another site. They are usually constructed out of shipping containers or other prefabricated structures.

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