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City takes next steps on modular housing pilot project

May 12 2016

"We need to tackle the housing affordability crisis head-on with creative approaches like modular housing," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Modular housing
Photograph by Olympic Legacy Affordable Housing, Surrey – built by Britco

We are taking the next steps on a new solution for providing temporary housing for low-income residents.

The Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency External website (VAHA) has proposed two initial sites to launch a modular housing pilot program at:

  • 1500 Main Street
  • 1060 Howe Street

Providing permanent affordable housing

"We've made gains creating housing for modest income households, but our housing market is very difficult for people on fixed incomes," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "We need to tackle the housing affordability crisis head-on with creative approaches like modular housing. We have a huge task ahead of us, but we're not backing down, and we'll keep pursuing all options to build more affordable housing."

VAHA has been mandated to create new affordable housing 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 income assistance or fixed incomes.

To provide permanent, affordable housing, we have offered up 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.

Modular housing pilot project

How many suites will be built

Each pilot site will be operated by a non-profit society to be selected by us.

1500 Main Street

VAHA anticipates that 1500 Main Street will be able to accommodate approximately 40 - 80 micro suites (with bathrooms and kitchens) and amenity space.

1060 Howe Street

The site at 1060 Howe Street will be able to accommodate roughly 40 suites (with bathrooms and shared kitchen facilities) on a raised parkade at the rear of the building.

Request for proposals issued to five companies for designs

After shortlisting twelve companies to build modular housing on these sites, we are now issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to five of the companies with the most experience to submit site specific designs.

Scheduled to be up and running by late fall, proponents are encouraged to submit designs which complement the look and feel of the neighbourhoods into their concepts.

Once the RFP process concludes, the successful proponent(s) will submit an application for a temporary development permit for each site. As part of that process, a formal community notification process will take place, seeking input from neighbouring residents and businesses.