Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has said that “We cannot pretend homelessness will solve itself, or disappear from sight and sit idly by while people struggle to live for months on end in the snow and the rain,” “Our government is taking action to quickly and safely move forward with supportive housing for the people who need it most. They can’t wait any longer.”
The purchased land on Royal Crescent is being proposed as a location for temporary modular homes that will be staffed 24/7. In this case, due to the urgent need and the prolonged tent city situation, the Province has bought the site and intends to move ahead with installing temporary structures.
Community members will be consulted on the look of the temporary modular site that could be ready for occupancy before fall 2018. For any future permanent use of the site, BC Housing will seek community feedback to suit the broader housing needs of the community. Permanent use of the site will go through the municipal rezoning process.
“As an emergency service worker in Maple Ridge, I can tell you there are serious health and public safety hazards at the camp, and elsewhere in the community, where people are experiencing homelessness,” said Chris McKee, president of the Maple Ridge Firefighters Union. “As firefighters, we treat every patient with dignity and respect, no matter their situation. This is in line with the provincial government’s approach in trying to find effective housing solutions that get people into housing as quickly as possible.”
A request for proposals will be issued to invite experienced non-profit organizations to submit their proposals to operate the Royal Crescent site. The operator will provide residents with daily meals, life-skills training and other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their housing goals — including culturally specific programing.
“There are well over 100 people in Maple Ridge that would be able to access this housing immediately and fill the place twice over,” said Christian Cowley, executive director of CEED Society. “This is an important part of the housing strategy that the community has been asking for over the past few years.”
The Province is working to provide a full spectrum of housing options and supports to help people in need, and to strengthen the overall response to the persistent homelessness and housing challenges in Maple Ridge, including:
- Temporary supportive modular spaces as an immediate response for people struggling with homelessness, including those currently living at the Anita Place camp – 22534, 22548 and 22556 Royal Crescent. This will provide up to 55 modular suites.
- New supportive housing at 11749/11761 Burnett St. – 40 new supportive homes and relocation of up to 40 shelter beds.
- New affordable rental housing at 21375 Lougheed Highway – new homes for low-income families and seniors.
- Intensive case management – enhanced outreach and support services for people in need.
Another public information session will be held on March 15, 2018. This will inform residents of the plans for the proposed supportive housing, affordable rental housing and expanded mental-health and addictions support for people in Maple Ridge