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Shelter, supported housing coming for more than 220 people in Abbotsford

April 26, 2024 at 12:13 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People experiencing homelessness in Abbotsford will soon have access to more than 220 new shelter spaces and supportive homes as the Province and the City of Abbotsford formalize their commitment to provide rapid supports in the community.

“Homelessness is a problem that affects everyone, and programs, such as Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH), are supporting people experiencing homelessness to build a better life,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “The Province and Abbotsford are working together to implement these programs and make a significant difference. Together, we will help more people with personalized supports that allow them to stabilize their lives, transition back into housing and improve the overall health of the community.”

The Province and the City of Abbotsford are signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that reaffirms their shared commitment to work together to support people experiencing homelessness. This MOU includes the development of new shelter and housing options through BC Housing’s HEARTH program and providing increased support to people currently living in encampments through the Homeless Encampment Action Response Team (HEART) program.

Included in this agreement are 111 new temporary shelter spaces:

  • Fifty-nine spaces in Sumas Shelter at 1821 Sumas Way (formerly Travelodge)
  • Twenty-two spaces in Lighthouse Shelter, 2509 Pauline St. (formerly Red Lion Inn)
  • Thirty spaces for a proposed shelter at 2539 Montvue Ave.

In addition to the MOU and HEARTH-funded shelters, the Province supported two more shelter and supportive housing buildings:

  • Fifty beds at Lonzo shelter, 34520 Lonzo Rd., to replace the existing 40-bed shelter at 1640 Riverside Rd.
  • Sixty units at men’s transitional building, a permanent supportive home for men recovering from addiction and at risk of homelessness, at 31246 King Rd.

“Abbotsford is a community that looks after its own and these more than 220 shelter spaces for those who are experiencing housing insecurity will be a tremendous help for people who need them,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford Mission. “We are grateful to be working with partners, like the City of Abbotsford, Lookout Housing Society and Archway Community Services Society, to deliver supports for people in need. This is an important step to reducing homelessness in our community.” 

Lookout Housing and Health Society will operate the Sumas, Lonzo and Lighthouse shelters. Archway Community Services will operate the proposed shelter at 2539 Montvue Ave. Kinghaven Peardonville House Society is operating the Bob Sutton Centre, an expansion to programs it has been running for 50 years.

The Lighthouse Shelter will provide interim housing for people who have been staying in shelters long term and free up shelter spaces for people sheltering outdoors.

“The circumstances of those experiencing homelessness are varied and complicated, which makes it an extremely difficult issue to address, and a growing public-safety concern for our community,” said Ross Siemens, mayor of Abbotsford. “This MOU with the Province, and the HEART and HEARTH programs mean we’ll be able to help more people move out of encampments by providing increased access to a variety of shelter options and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The Province’s Belonging in BC homelessness plan will add nearly 4,000 new supportive housing units and 240 complex-care spaces provincewide.

Quotes:

Shayne Williams, CEO, Lookout Housing and Health Society –

“Supporting people to have accommodations and be connected to services within our community is an essential step toward an individual’s wellness. Lookout Housing and Health Society thanks the Province of British Columbia and the City of Abbotsford for the opportunity to provide this much-needed intervention.”

Rod Santiago, central executive officer, Archway Community Services –

“When local and provincial partners work together to create options beyond encampments for safe, dignified and continuing housing solutions, we increase the likelihood of securing housing for folks currently sheltering outside. Archway Community Services applauds the Province of B.C., the City of Abbotsford and our many community partners for collaborating toward equitable access to housing for all.”

Daniel Marks, executive director, Kinghaven Peardonville House Society –

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of our men’s treatment centre. This state-of-the-art facility is designed to provide a nurturing environment for those in transition from bed-based addiction treatment, offering not just a place to stay, but a foundation from which to rebuild and thrive. Together, we’re building more than just housing and we’re creating a future filled with hope and opportunity.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, is providing approximately $48.8 million in capital and operating funding toward these projects, including:
    • approximately $15.5 million in operating funding and annual lease costs over three years for the Sumas temporary shelter through the HEARTH program;
    • approximately $5.2 million through the Homeless Action Plan, along with approximately $1.5 million in annual operating funding to fund the Lonzo temporary shelter;
    • approximately 4.9 million in operating and lease costs over three years for the 2539 Montvue Ave. shelter through the HEARTH program;
    • approximately $5.8 million in capital and operating funding over three years for the Lighthouse shelter, 2509 Pauline St., through the HEARTH program; and
    • approximately $16.6 million for 31246 King Rd. through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund.
  • Abbotsford joins Nanaimo, Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria as communities that have partnered with the Province and BC Housing to implement the HEART and HEARTH programs.
  • There are approximately 150 shelter spaces operating in Abbotsford.

Learn More:

To read the MOU, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Abbotsford_MOU_HEART_HEARTH.pdf

For more information about the HEART and HEARTH programs, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/HEART-HEARTH

To read the Belonging in BC plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BelongingStrategy.pdf

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