144 new temporary modular homes for the homeless open in Vancouver

Nov 26 2018, 8:07 pm

Two modular housing projects within the city of Vancouver, totalling 144 new units for the homeless, have reached completion and are now home to its first residents.

Approximately one-third of the Larwill Park city block at 610 and 620 Cambie Street — the southwest corner of Dunsmuir Street and Cambie Street — has been temporarily converted into a two three-storey building complex with 98 homes. The property has been named ‘Larwill Place.’

This is the same vacant parking lot site that is occasionally used for film and television productions, as well as special events such as Live Sites for the Olympics and FIFA Women’s World Cup. Over the longer-term, the municipal government’s plans for the modular housing footprint is to develop the site into office towers.

The remaining two-thirds parcel of the city block is reserved for the future home of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Larwill Park modular housing

Artistic rendering of the modular housing complex at Larwill Park in downtown Vancouver. (City of Vancouver)

The other temporary housing project that reached completion is The Beach, located at 137 East 37th Avenue on the site of Holborn Group’s future Little Mountain redevelopment near Queen Elizabeth Park. This property provides 46 homes within a three-storey building.

These complexes are staffed around the clock and provide life-enhancing services to residences such as meal programs, life-skills training, employment preparation, health and social support services, and opportunities for volunteer work. The buildings are also outfitted with ground-floor amenity spaces, dining and lounge areas, laundry room, and storage space.

The provincial government provided $16.2 million for the construction of Larwill Place and $8 million for The Beach. Annual operating costs will be covered by the provincial government, and Vancouver Coastal Health will provide supplementary funding to Larwill Place for 20 homes for people experiencing mental health and addictions challenges.

“These residents have chronic, complex health issues, and many of them are used to being on the street, using the emergency department for health care and then going back to the streets or a shelter,” said Caitlin Etherington, operations director of Complex Rehab and Supportive Housing for Vancouver Coastal Health, in a statement.

“We’re aiming to stop this cycle. There will be a nurse, mental-health worker and care aide on site who will give residents better co-ordinated comprehensive care.”

The remaining modular housing buildings to reach the provincial government’s target of building 600 modular homes for the homeless are expected to completed soon after recently receiving their necessary approvals.

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