British Columbia

450 new temporary and supportive housing units coming to Vancouver

In the ongoing effort to address homelessness, the city and province have announced plans to built 98 temporary modular units and 350 supportive housing units.

City and province team up to announce 98 temporary modular units and 350 supportive housing units

The province and City of Vancouver plan to build 98 more units of temporary modular housing at 1580 Vernon Drive, similar to this complex on Union Street. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

A new complex containing 98 units of temporary modular housing is coming to Vancouver as part of a newly announced effort to address the homeless crisis.

Plans for a further 350 units of permanent supportive housing are also in the works.

B.C.'s minister of municipal affairs and housing says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis.

"The need for safe, secure housing has never been more clear," said Selina Robinson.

"These new homes with wraparound supports will make a real difference for hundreds of people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, giving them a place of their own where they can stabilize and rebuild their lives."

The City of Vancouver is providing land for the projects while the province is funding capital and operating costs.

The temporary modular units are slated to be built at 1580 Vernon Drive in East Vancouver and complete by spring 2021.

The location of the 350 supportive units was not announced. Vancouver said the planning and permitting process would be expedited to allow construction to take place quickly.

Strathcona Park in Vancouver is the most recent park location where people living on the streets have created a tent city. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

"We all know there is only one way to tackle homelessness — build housing, lots of housing — and build it quickly," said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Vancouver's most recent homelessness flash point is in Strathcona Park where over 300 tents were erected this summer.

Stewart said more housing units could be built if the federal government followed through on commitments to help end street homelessness.

"Something that would really help here is if the federal government got on board," he said. "There is money sitting in a bank account in Ottawa, stuck because of bureaucratic red tape."