British Columbia

Prince Rupert, B.C., gets 36 modular homes for homeless residents

The port city has grappled with tent cities, and hopes to end homelessness by transitioning residents from shelters into modular homes.

Port city has grappled with tent cities, hopes to end homelessness

Plans for the modular housing development were set in motion after a tent city emerged outside Prince Rupert City Hall in November. (George Baker/CBC)

More than 30 modular housing units have been secured to house homeless residents in Prince Rupert, B.C. 

The modular housing units are entering the construction phase and are expected to open in the fall. Council approved the building permit on Monday.

The city's mayor, Lee Brain, says people from shelters and people living on the streets will transition into the homes once the development is built.

"It's basically a housing first model — for folks to be able to get back on their feet, they kind of need somewhere to go home every day to," Brain told CBC's Radio West.

The housing units will be staffed by the North Coast Transition Society, which will offer services to residents including culinary training, resume building, and addictions counselling.

"What they're designed for is to be transitional units," added Brain. "The intention is to help these folks integrate into society, and then when they're prepared, they can move into more of the longer-term B.C. Housing units, rather than temporary units."

Brain says the development will be able to house most, if not all, of the city's homeless people.

Modular housing

The housing units are part of the B.C. government's rapid response to homelessness, which involves building 2,000 units over two years in municipalities across B.C., including Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria.

Municipalities lease land to B.C. Housing to construct and run each complex. Prince Rupert has leased its lot on Park Avenue to B.C. Housing for 50 years.

"These are the ways that cities across the province can partner to help the province and B.C. Housing to make sure that these projects get done quickly," added Brain.

Plans for the modular housing development were set in motion after a tent city emerged outside Prince Rupert City Hall in November 2017.

With files from CBC's Radio West

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