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City moves forward with first temporary modular housing project

September 28 2016 Horizon North selected to start construction in early 2017

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) has selected Horizon North to complete Vancouver's first temporary modular housing project at 1500 Main Street, bringing affordable housing options to local residents.

VAHA is mandated to create new housing that is more affordable to local residents to address Vancouver's housing affordability challenges as quickly as possible. These facilities are a concrete step in providing below market temporary housing to individuals on fixed to low incomes.

"We're pleased to get this pilot project off the ground and to start building temporary modular housing on vacant sites awaiting development," says Mukhtar Latif, chief housing officer and CEO of VAHA. "We received many creative ideas on how to develop temporary modular housing and this proposal was the most innovative with every part of its construction being able to be used on another site in the future."

Modular housing manufacturer Horizon North

In May 2016, VAHA issued a request for proposals to five shortlisted companies to submit site specific designs. Modular housing manufacturer Horizon North proposed the winning design and will start construction of the modular building in early 2017.

"Horizon North is a leader in the modular building industry with a strong track record of delivering value to our industrial, commercial, retail and residential customers," says Rod Graham, president and CEO of Horizon North.

"Our goal for this project was to provide an innovative building solution for the City of Vancouver, maximizing the number of suites available and delivering on an expedited timetable. We are honoured to be a part of this key project that will deliver temporary housing solutions to those who need them quickly, efficiently, and affordably."

Details of their winning proposal

The Horizon North proposal showed a good understanding of the scope for the project and provided a balance between form and function. Through clever use of innovative design ideas and products, the building can be relocated and reconfigured to fit a number of different sites. Even the foundation system is adaptable and reusable.

The 14,875 square foot building will feature 40 single occupancy suites with self-contained bathrooms and kitchens, individual climate control, and private living space. The central building features include indoor and outdoor amenity space, central laundry, and a number of wheelchair accessible suites on the first floor. The site will be operated by a non-profit society to be selected by the City. Final completion of the building is expected in spring 2017.

Background

A temporary modular home is a form of construction that is a cost-effective way to quickly increase the supply of affordable housing until more permanent housing can be built.

In addition, to provide permanent, affordable housing, the City has offered 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 million to the provincial and federal governments, to partner on creating more than 3,500 new homes.