More than 600 temporary modular homes approved in Vancouver

October 9 2018 Fifty-two new temporary modular homes for people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver will be built at 898 Main Street

An artist's rendering of the temporary modular housing at 898 Main St

In just one year, the City of Vancouver and BC Government have approved more than 600 new temporary modular homes for people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver. So far, 306 temporary modular homes have been built and it’s expected the remainder will be complete by early 2019.

Today, our Director of Planning approved a development permit to build 52 temporary modular homes at 898 Main Street (southwest corner of Union St and Gore Ave). A total of 606 temporary modular homes on 10 sites are now approved in Vancouver. 

“I am thrilled that we’ve reached our milestone of providing 600 temporary modular homes in neighborhoods across Vancouver in just one year,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “More than half of these new homes have already welcomed their first residents, with the remainder expected to open within the next few months. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home and I am very grateful to the B.C. Government for partnering with the City of Vancouver to provide people with a roof over their heads and the support they need to get back on track.”

PHS selected as operator

BC Housing has selected PHS Community Services Society (PHS) as the non-profit housing operator for 898 Main St. PHS will provide support services to the residents 24/7, including life skills training, volunteer work, employment preparation, connections to community-based programs, and two meals a day. Once the building opens, there will be a 24/7 phone line available to the community to call with any building-related questions or concerns.

The community liaison, a City representative, is available to answer ongoing community questions on the project during construction until the building is complete by calling 604-829-9321.

“Thanks to our partnership with the City of Vancouver, more than 600 people will soon have a safe and comfortable home with the 24/7 support they need,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This is only the beginning. We’re going to keep working hard with our partners to help people get off the street and into homes.” 

Community engagement and feedback

As part of the development permit process, we hosted two community information sessions with approximately 140 people attending. City staff also held in-person meetings with businesses and key stakeholders in the neighbourhood.

Feedback on the new building, both in support and opposition, was received through approximately 120 comment cards and 100 emails. In response, we changed the building position to retain as many trees as possible on the site, and amended the exterior colour of the building. 

As a condition of approval, a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will be established to provide an ongoing forum for information sharing and dialogue between the community and the program partners. It will include PHS, Hogan’s Alley Society, local residents, and representatives from local businesses, Chinatown, Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Housing, and the City of Vancouver. 

Construction beginning this winter

Construction is anticipated to begin in December with the building expected to open in February 2019. The temporary modular housing will be constructed by BC-based manufacturer, Horizon North.

Amenities and features

Each new home will be approximately 320 square feet. The homes will have a kitchenette, bathroom, living/sleeping area, and individual heating, allowing the residents autonomy in their living spaces. Six homes will be wheelchair accessible. The building will also include a large indoor amenity space with a commercial kitchen that will provide a communal space for the residents to gather. There will be common laundry facilities, an administration office, and meeting rooms for the staff and residents to use to provide services for an independent, but supported lifestyle.

Long-term vision of this site

898 Main Street (the Hogan’s Alley Block) is identified in the North East False Creek (NEFC) Plan as a location that the we are committed to exploring – with the involvement of the Black community – land trusts, long term leases, and the establishment of a cultural centre. The City, BC Housing, and PHS are exploring opportunities with the Hogan’s Alley Society Board for the temporary modular homes to reflect and advance the long term vision of this site developed by the Black community as part of the NEFC plan.

PHS and the Hogan’s Alley Society commit to work together to ensure the temporary modular housing on this site is successful. This specific project prioritizes the needs of Black and Indigenous people, who face persistent social and economic exclusion.

The NEFC Plan includes the removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts that are adjacent to the temporary modular housing site. The temporary modular housing project will not delay or impede the delivery of the NEFC Plan, including the removal of the viaducts and the development of permanent social housing.

Learn more

The new homes at 898 Main Street are part of a $66 million commitment from the Government of British Columbia towards building 600 new units of temporary modular housing to address the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver.

Read more about temporary modular housing