New Beginnings, a new modular housing project, is opening its doors and offering Indigenous peoples experiencing homelessness a place to call home.
The Province and the City of Vancouver have partnered on the 98-unit supportive housing project, which is a part of the B.C. government’s commitment to build more than 600 supportive homes in the city.
“Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and this project will provide that and more, as Indigenous peoples experiencing homelessness are given the opportunity for a new beginning,” said Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington. “Together with the City of Vancouver and the Lu’ma Native Housing Society, we are helping people into homes with 24/7 supports, so that they can be connected to the health and life-skills opportunities they need.”
New Beginnings, like other modular buildings created as part of the Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program, offers around-the-clock services to residents. These include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
“Creating safe, warm homes for nearly 100 people, New Beginnings at Heather Lands will help give just that to its future tenants,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor, City of Vancouver. “The buildings will provide a strong foundation for people currently experiencing homelessness and we are pleased that Indigenous residents will be prioritized as tenants for these new homes.”
The housing will be managed by the Lu’ma Native Housing Society, an experienced non-profit housing operator and the first urban native housing society in B.C., with a 38-year history as a social housing provider.
The units are made possible through a five-year licence agreement provided to the City of Vancouver by the land owners, Canada Lands Company and the MST Partnership, a partnership of the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
The new homes at 5095 Heather St. were built by B.C. manufacturer Horizon North. Each home will be 29.7 square metres (320 square feet) and contain a bathroom and kitchen. Twelve of the 98 units will be fully wheelchair accessible.
The New Beginnings project brings the total number of completed modular supportive homes around the province to more than 700. A further 1,300 units are underway as part of the Rapid Response to Homelessness program, which will deliver more than 2,000 modular supportive homes in 22 communities.