Supportive homes proposed for New Westminster

December 7, 2021 at 3:06 pm  BC, News, Politics

The Province, through BC Housing, is partnering with the City of New Westminster on a proposal to create approximately 52 new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in the city.

“There’s a critical need to provide more supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness in New Westminster,” said Jennifer Whiteside, MLA for New Westminster. “Through this proposed housing project, we are working to provide over 50 vulnerable people in the community with safe and secure homes and the supports they need to begin rebuilding their lives. This project is part of the significant efforts our government has underway to tackle the housing crisis and build the homes people urgently need.”

If approved, the proposed supportive housing project would be built on provincially owned property at 68 Sixth St. The existing vacant building would be demolished and replaced with a modular building that would include approximately 52 studio homes, each containing a private bathroom, kitchenette and storage space for belongings, as well as communal space and laundry facilities.

The plan for the site would include 24/7 staffing to provide around-the-clock support to residents. Residents of the building would have access to support services including daily meals, life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental-health resources, and access to addiction treatment and recovery services.

“Far too many people are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in our region, so it’s crucial for us to work together to push forward on important projects like this one,” said Jonathan X. Coté, mayor, City of New Westminster. “I look forward to working with the Province to partner on more affordable housing projects in our city and provide homes and skills for those who need them most.”

The proposal is in its early stages and requires rezoning and permitting approval by the city council and funding approval by the Province. It’s part of the city’s new Crisis Response Bylaw Amendments procedure that fast-tracks urgent housing and time-sensitive crisis services. The proposal is going through an expedited Rezoning and Official Community Plan amendment process. The project was considered at a municipal rezoning hearing on Dec. 6, 2021, and would open in spring 2023, pending approvals.

If it moves forward, BC Housing and the building operator will set up a community advisory committee to oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and to address any questions raised by people in the neighbourhood.

Public engagement updates and details about this proposal can be found here: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/new-westminister-sixth-street

This potential project is part of government’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 30,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, would fund the capital and operating costs, as well as manage the construction for the project.
  • Projected costs will be finalized if the proposal is approved.
  • Including these homes, the Province is working in partnership to build approximately 258 new homes for people with a range of incomes in New Westminster.

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