VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the region grapples with an ongoing housing affordability problem, Premier John Horgan has announced funding for 1,000 new modular housing units in an attempt to tackle the other growing issue of homelessness.
Today he announced 600 units are set to be constructed on city-owned land. The provincial government has committed $66 million to the Vancouver buildings alone, where people will also be able to access support services to help them rebuild their lives.
Housing Minister Selina Robinson says too many people are living on the street in Vancouver and throughout the province and the modular units offer a short-term solution while a more permanent housing strategy is developed.
The buildings are designed to contain about 50 units, each with an individual kitchen and bathroom, while laundry and other amenity spaces are shared.
The province is planning to build a total of 2,000 units over the next two years, and BC Housing is focusing on several communities, including Surrey and Smithers, that have immediate need for housing.
Earlier this month, new homelessness numbers were released for Metro Vancouver. A survey conducted in March found 3,605 people identify as homeless while 1,032 have no shelter at all.
Addictions and mental health are considered factors, but according to half of the more than 3,000 people surveyed, the main barrier to housing access is the high cost of rent and lack of income.