New housing offers hope, stability for people in Powell River

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**From the BC Government News Website**

**Originally Published November 8, 2019**

 

People experiencing homelessness in Powell River are settling into safe, secure homes with support services as new permanent housing opens in their community.

“This supportive housing is a critical resource for our community, providing a safe and positive environment for people with the wraparound supports that will result in better health and well-being,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “We are thankful for the community partnerships that have resulted in these wonderful homes that give people dignity, hope and an opportunity to focus on making healthy decisions for themselves.”

The three-storey modular building at 4910 Joyce Ave. is close to community services and features 44 self-contained units with private washrooms, showers and mini-kitchens. Four of the units on the ground floor are wheelchair accessible. Shared amenities include an office, laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area where residents can enjoy meals together. The building has a medical room to provide on-site care for residents.

“The City of Powell River is pleased to see this much-needed supportive housing opening,” said George Doubt, acting mayor, City of Powell River. “Although there is still much to do, this project will fill an urgent need in our community.”

Lift Community Services, formerly PREP Community Programs, will work in partnership with Life Cycle Housing Society to provide around-the-clock services for residents. Supports will be provided by experienced staff and tailored for the residents, including two meals daily, employment and life-skills training, and health and wellness services. By providing safe, secure housing along with these wraparound services, supportive housing helps improve residents’ quality of life and reduces their use of health and social services in the long term.

“We are excited and honoured to be involved in a provincial project that puts people first, acknowledges the inherent dignity of every person, and recognizes that safe and secure housing is foundational to any path of getting healthier, feeling connected to your community and living a fulfilling life,” said Stuart Clark, executive director, Lift Community Services. “We are proud to be leading this program for our community, and having such a reputable partner in LifeCycle working beside us almost guarantees our success.”

Pat Christie, treasurer, Life Cycle Housing Society, said, “This project is a great example of what co-operation and collaboration can achieve. We thank the q’athet Regional District and the city for the land and lease agreement, the provincial government for the building and for financing support services, Lift Community Services for taking on the operations and also our community neighbours for their patience. We look forward to more partnerships to increase housing options in our region because safe, affordable housing makes communities better for everyone.”

ATCO was selected by the Province to manufacture the modular units in Powell River and several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Recent reports show that supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness is substantially improving quality of life for residents and reducing their use of emergency health services.
  • The Province invested $10.4 million in capital and construction costs and will provide a one-time grant of up to $100,000 for the operational startup cost, as well as an annual operating subsidy of $1 million for the project, which is being funded through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program.
  • Residents will be charged a monthly rate of $375, which is the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to people experiencing homelessness.
  • In just over two years, the Government of B.C. has built more than 2,000 supportive homes, with over 800 more underway, as part of 4,700 units over 10 years.

Learn More:

Full reports and a summary of results of modular supportive housing can be found here:
https://www.bchousing.org/modular-supportive-housing-resident-outcomes-reports

Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program:
https://www.bchousing.org/projects-partners/Building-BC/RRH-program

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online:
https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/