New homes for people experiencing homelessness in Courtenay
April 12, 2019
With the opening of The Junction, a 46-unit supportive housing project in the community, people experiencing homelessness in Courtenay will have a safe and secure place to call home.
"There are people in our community that have been living without the peace of mind that comes with having a place to call home," said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. "Thanks to our partnership with the City of Courtenay and John Howard Society of North Island, people will now have homes with the services that show them that their community cares about them and wants them to have the opportunity at a better life."
Located at 988 - 8th St., the permanent housing project is a newly completed three-storey modular apartment building featuring self-contained units with a kitchenette and washroom, including two units designed for people with physical challenges. The ground floor includes a commercial grade kitchen, common dining area and laundry facilities.
"This supportive housing facility will offer more than just shelter for its residents. It's a path forward to a better life through access to life skills, health care and coaching, led by people who care about them," said Bob Wells, mayor, City of Courtenay. "The City of Courtenay is incredibly grateful to the Province and BC Housing for making this project a reality and paving the way to a brighter future for these members of our community."
John Howard Society of North Island will operate the building and provide residents with 24/7 support services, which include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work.
"We are so grateful to the City of Courtenay and BC Housing for creating this essential service that will change the lives of our vulnerable citizens who are experiencing chronic homelessness," said Wendy Richardson, executive director, John Howard Society of North Island. "We all benefit when these kinds of supports are available, and people are no longer sleeping on the streets."
B.C.-based manufacturer Horizon North was selected by the Province to manufacture the modular units in Courtenay and several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.
Provincial investments in the past 18 months are supporting the construction of 4,700 new supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness around B.C.
Delivering affordable housing is a shared commitment between government and the BC Green Party Caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The Province invested $7.5 million in capital and construction costs and will provide an annual operating subsidy for the project.
- The land for the permanent supportive housing project was provided by the City of Courtenay.
- Residents will be charged a monthly rate of $375, which is the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to people experiencing homelessness.
- Through the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province is investing $291 million to build 2,000 homes around the province and providing annual operating funding to provide 24/7 staffing and support services. More than 1,200 of these homes are complete.
- The Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs throughout the province, which includes 1,400 direct jobs and another 650 jobs in supplier industries.
Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/Building-BC/rapid-response-homelessness
For a map of the modular projects, visit: http://www.bchousing.org/publications/Building-BC-Rapid-Response-Homelessness-Map.pdf
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
Read Homes for B.C., government's 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
Services and supports provided for modular housing
All new modular housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.
The Province is providing annual operating funding to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced staff provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.
Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, include:
- both on-site supports and connection to additional specialized supports in their community;
- supports tailored to the needs of the residents, including education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services, including mental-health and addiction treatment programs;
- individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
- case planning and needs assessment;
- other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs;
- help accessing income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
- support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home; and
- no-cost laundry services, either on- or off-site.