More temporary modular housing open in Vancouver

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The city and the province Friday announced the opening of another 144 supportive housing units

Jessica Kerr / Vancouver Courier

NOVEMBER 23, 2018

More of the city’s temporary modular housing is open and ready for residents.

The province Friday morning announced the opening of 144 supportive housing units at two locations in the city.

“Today we are taking another important step forward in helping people who have been struggling for far too long in this community,” Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, said in a press release. “These homes, and the ones like them that are operating around the province, will change the lives of thousands of people who currently don’t have a place to call home.”

Larwill Place, located at 610 and 620 Cambie St., has 98 units in two three-storey buildings managed by MPA Society. It is dedicated to the memory of Al Larwill, the original caretaker of the Cambie Grounds, a park that was at that location in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Also opened Friday was tə cecəw (The Beach), located at 137 East 37th Ave., which includes 46 units within a three-storey building operated by Coast Mental Health. The building was named by the Musqueam Indian Band and serves as a metaphor for the place people gather to share stories that guide people’s life journey in their “soul canoe.”

Both sites are staffed 24/7 and provide programs to residents such as meal programs, life-skills training, employment, employment preparation, health and social support services, and opportunities for volunteer work. Each buildings has a ground floor amenities space, commercial kitchen, dining/lounge area, offices and a staff room, laundry room and storage space.

The opening of these two new buildings brings the number of completed temporary modular housing units to 404.

“With the opening of Larwill Place and The Beach, or tə cecəw, hundreds of people will now have shelter from the cold as well as their own kitchen, bathroom and bed,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “The Musqueam community says tə cecəw is a place where people gather to share information to help navigate their journey through life. These buildings aim to provide just that: life skills, health and social services as well as two meals a day, so that people experiencing homelessness may go on to successfully rebuild their lives.”

In September 2017, the province announced $66 million to build 600 units of temporary modular housing in Vancouver. To date, 606 units have been approved and more than 400 are complete and open.

“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, complex rehab and supportive housing, Vancouver Coastal Health.

“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.”