The B.C. government is working with the City of Chilliwack to create up to 46 units of new modular housing with 24/7 support that will help people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, transition towards a more stable life.
“We need to get people into safe and secure housing, so they can get the supports they need to begin the process of turning their lives around,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “It’s great to see communities throughout British Columbia interested in working with us to deliver this much-needed housing for some of our most vulnerable neighbours. Getting this project off the ground is an important first step in addressing homelessness here in Chilliwack.”
Residents will be provided with meals, have access to life and employment skills training, and get the health and wellness support services to help them overcome challenges to maintaining their housing.
Located at 45944 Yale Rd., the proposed supportive housing project will include a medical room and private units, with washrooms and kitchenettes for each resident.
A rezoning application for the location will be submitted to the city for approval.
“Many communities in our province have expressed the need for housing to support vulnerable citizens,” said Sharon Gaetz, mayor, City of Chilliwack. “Chilliwack has worked with BC Housing and we are grateful for the supports that they are offering to us. Everyone needs a home and this will provide a safe place with wrap-around services to those who need it most. Thank you to the Province for providing new hope to those who need it most.”
In addition, to assist homeless people who have significant substance-use conditions, and may also face other significant challenges related to health, mental health, poverty and education, Fraser Health will operate an Intensive Case Management (ICM) team out of the site.
“We know secure housing has a direct link to peoples’ mental health and overall well-being,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy. “These new homes provide a stable environment with wrap-around supports that are critical to helping people get well and stay well.”
Using a team-based approach with clinicians, nurses and community-support workers, the ICM team will provide comprehensive assessments for people, and help them access treatment and rehabilitation services.
“Our goal is to support people struggling with significant substance-related disorders, to stabilize their lives and reduce harms associated with substance use. We want to help clients engage in treatment, and address their health and social needs,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health vice-president for population health. “Once a person has stable housing, our Intensive Case Management team can work with them and offer a holistic approach to care, connecting them to a broad range of services to meet their unique needs, while showing compassion and commitment to their overall well-being.”
The ICM team will provide culturally safe and trauma-specific services. This work will be conducted in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority.
“Our partnership is grounded in the reality that our people are disproportionately impacted in our current public-health state of emergency,” said Richard Jock, chief operating officer, First Nations Health Authority. “Working in concert with Fraser Health and housing partners will ensure our efforts are systematic and bring together the best services for First Nations in the region.”
An expression of interest for an operator has been issued and BC Housing is currently reviewing all the proposals submitted.
An open house will be scheduled at a later date, where members of the community can learn more about the project. In the meantime, questions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
A backgrounder follows.