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Doors open for Vancouver's first temporary modular housing development

February 16 2017 Providing affordable homes for 40 people in Vancouver

Today, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA), the Government of Canada, and Vancity celebrate the completion of Vancouver's first modular housing development at 220 Terminal Avenue to help address the affordable housing problems in Vancouver.

This innovative building solution will provide interim homes for 40 male and female residents on low- and fixed-income.

Housing

The modular homes feature:

  • 40 self-contained suites with a bathroom, a kitchen, and a shared laundry
  • Communal indoor and outdoor amenity space

Four of the suites have been designed to accommodate people with accessibility requirements and feature customized layouts and user-friendly adaptive design.

In September 2016 VAHA selected Horizon North to construct the temporary modular housing project at 220 Terminal Ave.

Reusable design

Through 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 reusable. The unique design allows the temporary modular homes to be relocated to future sites.

Murals by First Nations artist

220 Terminal Avenue will feature two murals on the outside of the building. Bracken Hanuse-Corlett, a mural artist and a member of the Wuikinuxv and Klahoose Nations created the work to:

  1. Reflect the history of the area, as well as present day
  2. Acknowledge that Vancouver is built upon:
    • Unceded land
    • Sacred sites
    • Complex river and stream systems
    • Hunting and cultivated gathering grounds

Funding

The City of Vancouver donated undeveloped, City-owned land to VAHA for this project. Placing modular housing on vacant and underutilized sites pending redevelopment is a cost-effective way to quickly increase the supply of affordable housing until more permanent housing can be built.

Funding to support VAHA's temporary modular housing development also comes from the Government of Canada, Vancity, and a private donation.

  • Initial funding of $1.5 million will be provided by the Government of Canada through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as part of the Affordable Rental Innovation Fund.
  • Mr. Jimmy Chow's estate has made a private donation of over $1 million.
  • Vancity is providing a $100,000 investment, including an initial grant to offset capital costs, as well as a three-year operating subsidy.

Cost

The total capital costs for the project are $3 million and the contributions needed towards annual operating costs are $85,000. With this partner funding the City will contribute approximately $500,000 to complete the capital funding costs and the annual operational costs will be $60,000.

Quotes

Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver

"There's an immediate need for modular housing to support people on very low incomes who can't find a place to live as we continue to grapple with a homelessness crisis," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "This modular housing development is an innovative, low-cost solution that quickly delivers affordable housing by utilizing vacant City land as we wait for more permanent social housing to be built. City Hall will keep supporting VAHA and other partners to find creative solutions like this to tackle homelessness head on, and pursue all options and tools available to build more affordable housing as quickly as possible."

Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of Families, Children, and Social Development

"Our Government is committed to encouraging organizations like VAHA that achieve innovative solutions for affordable rental housing without the need for ongoing government subsidies," says Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of Families, Children, and Social Development and minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. "This is the first project approved by CMHC under the new Affordable Rental Innovation Fund, and it is a model that may interest others across the country who are looking for new affordable rental options."

Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO, Vancity

"We're committed to using our financial tools to develop innovative affordable housing strategies. The City's pilot with temporary modular housing is a good example of what can be achieved to address the immediate housing needs in our city," says Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO, Vancity.

VAHA

VAHA is a legally-independent agent of the City of Vancouver that leverages City- and partner-owned land to create new housing projects that offer greater diversity of home options and greater affordability than what is currently offered by the private market.

VAHA looks forward to continue building and strengthening partnerships with senior levels of government to support the creation of temporary and permanent affordable rental housing. VAHA is working toward developing 2,500 new homes on City lands by 2021 and approximately 1,000 homes are currently in the planning process.

For temporary modular housing, VAHA is currently looking into new sites to build three-storey developments to create more affordable housing as quickly, efficiently, and affordably as possible through standardized processes.

Follow VAHA's progress External website

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