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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Modular housing for the homeless coming to Olympic Village

The City of Vancouver is planning new modular homes for the homeless at the corner of West 2nd and Ash, on a parking lot just west of the Olympic Village Canada Line station.

The three-storey building will contain approximately 50 studio homes for singles, 10 per cent of which will be wheelchair accessible.

The city says the building will be in place for up to five years, with the option of an extension for an additional five years.

The project would be managed by a non-profit housing operator, selected by BC Housing, and support services will be available to all tenants, although no specifics were provided.

“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,” stated a January 5, 2018 City of Vancouver news release. “From last fall until the end of this year, 1,000 new social and supportive housing units will open across Vancouver.”

Location of West 2nd and Ash Street modular housing

An open house for the West 2nd project will be held January 30, 2017 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Beaumont Studios at 326 West 5th Avenue. Feedback can also be relayed to housing@vancouver.ca

Temporary Modular Housing for Homeless
Notification card issued to residents living near the city’s latest proposed site for temporary modular housing for the homeless.

Similar modular housing plans in Marpole proved controversial

Modular housing Marpole map
Location of modular housing in Marpole, showing proximity to schools. Credit: City of Vancouver

The city’s plans for 78 modular housing units for the homeless in Marpole ran into significant neighbourhood opposition last fall, with those opposed saying the site was too close to three schools – Sir Wilfred Laurier Elementary, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary and the Ideal Mini School.

Despite neighbourhood concerns, protests and a court injunction, the project was conditionally approved in November 2017. Several conditions were attached to the project, with the city promising that the modular housing would be tenanted “taking into consideration the surrounding neighbourhood including the adjacent schools” and would be primarily home to people over 45 years old.

City Hall likes modular housing units, as they can be constructed in as little as six months, and can be easily relocated and reconfigured. They are also built to the city’s building codes and can be made accessible for those with disabilities.

Vancouver’s first modular housing for homeless opened in 2017

In 2017, the city and its affordable housing agency, VAHA, opened Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing development at 220 Terminal Avenue. The project has 40 units over three floors, with rents set at the income assistance shelter rate of $375 per month.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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  1. Is this the wisest use of precious land at rapid transit stations? Or, is this politically motivated “do something” in time for the 2018 election? Whose money is going into this project? If it is done, why not on less strategic sites? This scheme takes a most desirable site for high density, mixed-use development, with far more housing, out of the picture for 5, 10, or more years. Makes me shake my head in wonder. Applause?

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