Temporary modular housing approved for Kaslo Street

March 13, 2018 | Homelessness

The Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, Gil Kelley, announced today the approval of a development permit to build 52 new temporary modular housing units at 4480 (formerly 4410) Kaslo Street, across from the 29th Avenue Sky Train station. The homes are part of a $66 million commitment from the Government of British Columbia towards building 600 new units of temporary modular housing to address the immediate needs of homeless residents in Vancouver.

The temporary modular housing building, which will contain 52 units, will be constructed by Horizon North. Each new home will be 320 square feet and contain a bathroom and kitchen. A total of 6 units will be fully wheelchair accessible. The building will also include a large amenity space with a commercial kitchen to encourage social interaction and provide a communal space for the residents to gather. There will also be laundry facilities, a staff room, an office, and meeting rooms for the staff and residents to use. It is anticipated construction will start in late March and the building will open in early July. 

BC Housing has selected Atira as the non-profit housing operator to oversee tenanting and management of the building and to provide support services to the tenants 24/7, including life skills training, volunteer work, employment preparation and connections to community-based programs. Atira is an experienced supportive and low-income housing provider with more than 30 years of experience committed to providing supportive housing for sheltered and unsheltered homeless residents that nurtures belonging, influence and purpose.

As part of the development permit process the City hosted three community information sessions with approximately 400 people attending.

City staff also connected with many organizations in the community, including the Still Creek Community Garden, the Collingwood Neighborhood House, the Cedar Cottage Neighborhood House, the Renfrew-Collingwood Seniors Society, Grenfell Elementary School, and VSB representatives. In addition, project information and meeting invitations were sent to local schools and respective Parent Advisory Committees (PACs), daycares/preschools and local businesses. Mayor Gregor Robertson also conducted a neighborhood walkabout and met with representatives from the Victoria Drive Business Improvement Association and the Collingwood Neighborhood House.

Through the community engagement process nearly 11,000 notification postcards were distributed within a 5-block radius of 4480 Kaslo Street beginning on November 29th, 2017, along with 5,900 fact sheets.

In response, the City received approximately 200 comment cards and 80 emails from the public both in support and opposition.

Of the comments received, there was general concern about the scale of the building, the need to relocate and replace the existing community garden, proximity to nearby schools and playgrounds, and the tenanting process. Support was expressed for the City in taking the initiative to deliver this type of housing to help people experiencing homelessness.

In approving the development permit for the Kaslo temporary modular housing application, the Director of Planning acknowledged the community’s feedback and set a number of conditions of approval to specifically address the concerns raised, with particular regard to how the new building will successfully function within the community.

As a condition of approval, a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will be established to provide an ongoing forum for information sharing and dialogue between the community and the program partners. It will be comprised of the housing operator, community members, and representatives from Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Housing, Vancouver Police Department, and the City of Vancouver. The process to create the CAC will begin in the coming weeks and the Community Liaison is available for ongoing community questions.  

The temporary modular housing at 4480 Kaslo Street will be prioritized for people who are unsheltered or living in a shelter and homeless people living in the local neighbourhood.

There is currently a community garden located on the site. The Park Board, in partnership with the City, have been working with the gardeners to find a suitable location to relocate the community garden. Staff reviewed Parks and City-owned properties within approximately 1200 metres of the existing garden that meet the needs of the gardeners. Last night the Park Board approved the relocation of the garden to Slocan Park.

There are currently 260 units of temporary modular housing in progress:

 

Approved units (208)

  • 7430 & 7460 Heather Street (78 units that have been built)
  • 1115, 1131, 1141 Franklin Street (39 units under construction)
  • 501 Powell (39 units under construction)
  • 4480 (formerly 4410) Kaslo Street (52 units)

Under review through the development permit process (52)

  • 595 and 599 West 2nd Avenue (52 units)

Temporary modular housing is a quick and effective way to address the urgent needs of the city’s most vulnerable residents while more permanent housing is being built.

The City is taking the following actions on permanent social and supportive housing:

  • As part of the Housing Vancouver Strategy, the City has a target of approving 12,000 new units of permanent social and supportive housing over the next 10 years.
  • From fall 2017 until the end of this year, 1,000 new social and supportive housing units will open across Vancouver.

The City and BC Housing have also opened 300 temporary shelter spaces this winter as a way for those living on the street to get out of the cold.

To learn more about temporary modular housing, visit vancouver.ca/temporarymodularhousing.