Eight temporary modular homes from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Village in Whistler are being turned into permanent affordable rental homes on the Sunshine Coast, thanks to a $3.7-million investment by the Province and community partners.
“As part of our 2010 Olympic legacy, we’re working with local government and community groups to provide stable, supportive housing for people living with mental health issues who are at risk of homelessness,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Development. “Congratulations to the community of Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast for their hard work.”
The Province’s contribution of $2.73 million will be used to reconfigure the modular homes into a two-storey building with eight apartments at 5661 Dolphin St. As well, a $100,000 community gaming grant will help renovate the adjacent former RCMP building into a clubhouse. This building will deliver support services and programs. The Province will also provide the Sunshine Coast Community Services Society with annual funding for operations and support service funding.
The Sechelt project is part of ongoing efforts by the Province and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) to reconfigure 320 temporary modular homes from the Whistler Athletes’ Village. The homes will be relocated and converted into 156 permanent, affordable rental homes in six communities across B.C. Other communities include Chilliwack, Enderby, Saanich, Surrey, and Chetwynd.
The Government of Canada provided the land to the District of Sechelt through the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative. The District will lease the land, valued at $680,000, to the Province. The Construction Aggregates Ltd. and local community builders are providing more than $165,000 through donations, in-kind materials and labour.
“Our government is supporting many Canadians with housing needs, and is helping those seeking to break free of the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” said the Sunshine Coast's Member of Parliament, John Weston. “We are committed to working with communities, governments and key stakeholders to develop local solutions to homelessness, and this project is a good example of partnerships at work.”
“Providing supportive housing for people at risk of homelessness is a fundamental part of building a healthy community,” said Mayor Darren Inkster, District of Sechelt. “I would like to thank the Province and VANOC for providing the funds to bring this much-needed housing to Sechelt, as well as the Government of Canada for providing the land. I would also like to commend Sunshine Coast Community Services Society, Arrowhead Centre Society and other community groups for stepping up to help fund, develop and operate the housing and support services.”
Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS) will manage and operate the eight rental homes. SCCSS, Arrowhead Centre Society and Vancouver Coastal Health- Mental Health and Addiction Services - Sunshine Coast will provide support services for residents as well as community programs at the newly renovated clubhouse.
Arrowhead Centre Society has been successful in raising more than $40,000 to support start-up and program operations.
“The Sunshine Coast is in great need of a development that will provide people with mental health issues with housing and the opportunity to receive the support services they need close to family and friends,” said Gloria Lifton, board president of Sunshine Coast Community Services Society. “One of the most exciting aspects of this project has been the level of support we have received from local individuals, businesses and governments, as well as the Province and our operational partners Arrowhead Centre Society and Vancouver Coastal Health - Mental Health and Addiction Services - Sunshine Coast.”
“Our mission is to support our members on their journey to recovery by creating opportunities through our support programs and housing initiatives,” said Mary Anne Darney, acting chair for Arrowhead Centre Society. “We look forward to providing services and working with our local outreach service providers at the newly renovated clubhouse.”
“Through our partnership with Sunshine Coast Community Services Society and the Arrowhead Centre Society, our organization has the capacity to provide a much-needed service to our community’s most vulnerable,” said Dr. Faith Auton-Cuff, manager of Vancouver Coastal Health- Mental Health and Addiction Services - Sunshine Coast. “We look forward to seeing this new housing development completed and continuing our work with the residents of the new housing units.”
Increasing affordable housing, reducing homelessness and helping those who cannot help themselves is a key agenda for the Province of British Columbia. Through Housing Matters BC, the Province is addressing a range of housing needs, from homelessness to affordable rental housing and homeownership.
To find out more about affordable housing in B.C., visit www.bchousing.org
In 2010-11, the Province will invest over $562 million – more than four times as much as in 2001 – to provide affordable housing and supports to reduce homelessness.