British Columbia

Atira to build modular housing complex

The city of Vancouver approved 21 social housing units for women and their families, to be built in Strathcona.

21 social housing units for women will be created using old shipping containers

The building will be constructed using so-called upcycled shipping containers. (Atira Women’s Resource Society)

The City of Vancouver has given the green light for Atira to build what will be one of North America's tallest residential modular housing complexes.

Twenty-one affordable social housing units for women and their families will be built at 420 Hawks Avenue in Strathcona using storage containers to help curb the cost of construction.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the modular housing plan is an innovative way to make living in the city more affordable for those who need it most.

"We know the housing market is very difficult for people on low and fixed incomes and we urgently need creative projects built at low cost," he said in a news release. 

Atira Women's Resource Society, a non-profit organization heading up the project, already has a 12-unit structure on Alexander Street made with storage containers that provides social housing for women.

Atira has already built an apartment complex using 12 shipping containers at Jackson Avenue and Alexander Street. (Negar Mojtahedi/CBC)

The seven-storey building will include seven micro-dwellings and 14 two-bedroom units.The ground floor of the mixed-use complex will feature retail and community space — something the  Strathcona Residents Association had lobbied for last year. 

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation invested $600,000 in the housing. Community groups such as the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services, Sheway, Watari will also be involved in the project. 

The city says it is too early to say when construction will begin.