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Temporary modular housing unit

Temporary modular housing approved for 265 West 1st Avenue

One building with 52 new homes for people who are homeless in Vancouver will be built on the site

September 20 2018 –

Today, the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver announced the approval of a development permit to build 52 new temporary modular homes at 265 West 1st Avenue (formerly 215 W 1st Avenue). With the approval of this site, 554 new temporary modular homes are approved in Vancouver with another 52 under review as part of the development permit process.

BC Housing has selected PHS Community Services Society as the non-profit housing operator. PHS will provide support services to the tenants 24/7, including life skills training, volunteer work, employment preparation and connections to community-based programs. 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 development permit was approved with conditions that must be met before issuance. Some of the conditions include:

  • Reviewing urban design elements such as setting the building back further from the street
  • Retaining existing trees on the site along W 1st Avenue
  • Establishing a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) consisting of community members and program partners representing community interest to provide an ongoing forum for information sharing and dialogue between them.

As part of the development permit process the City hosted two community information sessions with approximately 180 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 95 comment cards and 191 emails. In response the City has taken the following actions:

  • Adding extra garbage cans to the Olympic Village neighbourhood
  • Regularly trimming and maintaining the blackberry brambles and weeds along the sidewalk on West 1st
  • Adding additional resources to clean up and maintain the vacant sites in the area next to the temporary modular housing building
  • Exploring ways to beautify the vacant site to the north of the temporary modular housing building

Construction is anticipated to begin at the end of November with the building expected to open at the end of January 2019. The temporary modular housing will be constructed by B.C. manufacturer, Horizon North. 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. Two meals will be provided to the residents each day. 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.

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.

The proposed site will neighbour Sole Food Street Farms, a social enterprise that transforms urban land into street farms. Sole Food is working with the City and BC Housing on potential links between urban farming and the proposed new housing.

This site is included in the Southeast False Creek Official Development Plan. The City acknowledges the community's contributions to this plan. The temporary modular housing will not delay or impact any future plans or uses for this site.

The new homes at 265 West 1st Avenue 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.

To learn more about temporary modular housing, visit vancouver.ca/temporarymodularhousing.