Housing First Initiatives

Vancouver is in a housing crisis and over 2,000 people across the city of Vancouver are experiencing homelessness.  Men, women, seniors and youth are suffering both physically and mentally.  Providing the right supply of housing, with the right supports for people experiencing homelessness continues to be a top priority for the City of Vancouver.

In September 2017, the BC government committed $66 million towards the development of 600 new units of temporary modular housing in Vancouver.  This will allow the City and the Province, through BC Housing, to address the immediate and urgent needs of homeless residents in Vancouver while more permanent housing is being created.  This initiative is intended to respond to the current homelessness crisis by providing homeless residents with immediate access to appropriate supportive housing until they can transition to longer-term housing solutions.

Building on the success and learnings from the temporary modular housing pilot project at 220 Terminal Ave. that was developed by the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA), it will act as the developer on behalf of the property owner, BC Housing, to deliver these additional 600 temporary modular housing units throughout Vancouver.

Temporary modular housing utilizes pre-fabricated modular construction in a factory to allow for rapid assembly of housing units on site that can be relocated at a future date as required.  The new housing will be built on underused or vacant sites across Vancouver.  Modular construction can be completed in 50 per cent less time than a traditionally constructed building and is designed to meet the City’s building codes.

The temporary modular housing currently being developed in Vancouver will be in place for up to five years, with the possibility to extend an additional five years on each site.  The modules can easily be relocated and reconfigured to fit a range of sites, helping to optimize vacant City or privately-owned lots.

Each temporary modular housing building is managed by an experienced non-profit housing operator, selected by BC Housing.  The non-profit operator staffs the building 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides support services to tenants, which could include access to health services, life skills training, employment preparation and access to educational opportunities.  The services provided to tenants vary from building to building.  Some services are provided by on-site staff, and some services are delivered by support agencies through outreach programs.

Applications for temporary modular housing are processed through the BC Housing Supportive Housing Registry.  Tenants would be selected through BC Housing, the non-profit housing operator, and the City’s outreach team through a coordinated process that ensures tenants’ needs are well matched to the levels of services provided in the building.

The temporary modular housing program in Vancouver is part of a larger, province-wide initiative to see 2,000 temporary modular homes developed over the next two years.  The BC government has committed at total of $291 million in capital, and more than $170 million in operational funding over the next three years.

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