Temporary modular housing approved for 5077 and 5095 Heather Street site

August 30 2018 Development Permit approved for two buildings containing 98 new homes for Vancouver’s most vulnerable residents

1st avenue

Today, the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver announced the approval of a development permit to build 98 new temporary modular homes at 5077 and 5095 Heather Street.

For the two new buildings on this site, priority will be given to Indigenous residents experiencing homelessness. The focus on supporting Indigenous residents in these buildings is in line with the need identified through Vancouver’s annual homeless count, which shows Indigenous people make up 40 per cent of Vancouver’s homeless population.

Support services

BC Housing has selected Lu’ma Native Housing Society as the nonprofit housing operator. Lu’ma will provide support services to the tenants 24/7, including:

  • life skills training
  • volunteer work
  • employment preparation 
  • connections to community-based programs

Building features

The temporary modular housing buildings will be constructed by B.C. manufacturer, Horizon North. Construction is anticipated to begin at the end of September with both buildings expected to open in late December.

Each new suite will be approximately 320 square feet, have individual heating and include a kitchenette, bathroom and living/sleeping area, allowing the residents autonomy in their living spaces.

A total of 6 units in each building will be wheelchair accessible. The buildings will also include a large indoor amenity space with a commercial kitchen to encourage social interaction and provide a communal space for the residents to gather. There will also 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 front yard of the buildings will have a shared outdoor amenity space with tables and gardening planters for the residents to use.

Community engagement

As part of the development permit process the City hosted two community information sessions with approximately 60 people attending.

City staff also held in person meetings with businesses and key stakeholders in the neighbourhood including: local schools and PACs, neighbourhood associations, local churches, child care centres, and hospitals in the local area. 

For public response to this project, the City received 19 comment cards and 14 emails, both in support and opposition. Those in support feel homelessness in Vancouver is a serious issue and temporary modular homes are a good way to address it. Those in opposition are concerned about the length of community engagement and a perceived safety risk for the neighbourhood. 

Conditions of the development permit

As a condition of approval of the development permit, 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 be comprised of Lu'ma Native Housing Society, community members, and representatives from Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Housing, Vancouver Police Department, and the City of Vancouver.

The Community Liaison, a City representative available to answer ongoing community questions on the project, is available during the construction phase until the CAC is convened prior to completion by calling 604-829-9321.  

Rezoning and development of the Heather Lands site

The proposed temporary modular housing is separate from the upcoming rezoning and permanent development of the Heather Lands site.
 
On May 15, City Council approved the Heather Lands Policy Statement for the 21-acre site to become a sustainable new mixed-use neighbourhood with housing for all income levels, improved cycling and walking paths, new park and open space, and inspired by Indigenous culture and traditions. 
 
The site was formerly home to the RCMP Division ‘E’ Headquarters. Today the site is jointly owned by the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation (MST Nations) and Canada Lands Company (CLC).
  
The new homes at 5077 and 5095 Heather St 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.
 

Temporary modular homes

Currently, approximately 600 new homes are at various stages of the development and approval process. Approved temporary modular homes include:
  • Reiderman Residence - 7430 and 7460 Heather Street (78 homes built and tenanted)
  • Chartrand Place - 1131 Franklin Street (39 homes built and tenanted)
  • Aneki Housing for Women - 525 Powell (39 homes built and tenanted)
  • Sarah Ross House - 4480 (formerly 4410) Kaslo Street (52 homes built and tenanted)
  • M. Mitchell Place - 2132 Ash Street (formerly 595 and 599 West 2nd Avenue) (52 homes under construction)
  • Little Mountain 137 E 37th Ave (46 homes under construction) 
  • 610 and 620 (formerly 688) Cambie Street (98 homes under construction)
  • 5077 and 5095 Heather Street (98 homes approved)
Total = 502 homes 
 
Temporary modular housing sites at development permit stage include:
  • 215 West 1st Avenue (approximately 50 homes, development permit application has been submitted to the City)
  • Union and Gore (898 Main St) (approximately 50 homes, development permit application has been submitted to the City)
Total = approximately 100 proposed homes