Province takes action to address homelessness in Maple Ridge

Posted in: ,

People who are struggling with housing affordability and homelessness in Maple Ridge will soon have access to new supportive housing, affordable rental housing and expanded mental-health and addictions support to help them maintain stable housing.

“We know that a new approach is needed to help Maple Ridge’s most vulnerable residents,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are working across government to provide both short- and long-term solutions to address homelessness and housing affordability in a way that works for the city and its residents.”

The Province is moving forward with a plan to provide a full spectrum of housing options and supports to help people in need in the community, including:

New supportive housing

Recognizing a need for permanent housing options in the community, the B.C. government is investing approximately $3.6 million to purchase property at 11749/11761 Burnett St. for a proposed project that would include approximately 40 new supportive housing units and relocation of up to 40 shelter beds.

The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows ministries would operate the new project and move their existing shelter at 22188 Lougheed Highway to the new building to be constructed on the site.

“Supportive housing and shelters are an important intervention that saves lives and assists people to access the resources they need to achieve housing stability,” said Salvation Army spokesperson Darrell Pilgrim. “We’re excited about this initiative and privileged to be able to work with the Province to address the needs in Maple Ridge.”

Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2019.

New affordable rental housing

The Province is in discussions with the City of Maple Ridge and has allocated approximately $15 million in funding to develop a new affordable rental housing project for families and seniors on city-owned property at 21375 Lougheed Hwy.

Temporary modular housing

The B.C. government is working to purchase land to build temporary high-support modular housing so that people experiencing homelessness, including those at the St. Anne homeless camp, will have immediate access to safe and secure housing.

In order to provide housing as quickly as possible, the Province is looking at using repurposed modular housing for a period of one-to-two years. The units would include a private washroom, meals, support services and 24/7 staffing. Following this, more permanent housing will be designed in consultation with the community and made available for rent. Further details will be shared with the public once a site is confirmed.

Intensive Case Management Team

The Province will ensure increased supports are provided for Maple Ridge residents, including those in new modular housing through the Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT). The team has capacity to serve additional clients so that people in need in the community have access to a broad range of supports, including mental-health and addictions care.

“Each person is affected differently by mental-health and addictions challenges,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy. “That’s why the Intensive Case Management Team is well-placed to help anyone living in the new supportive housing units. The team focuses on providing each person with the mental-health, addictions and social supports they need on their journey to recovery. This is an example of how we are working across government and with partners across sectors to build a more seamless, co-ordinated mental-health and addictions system in B.C. so people can ask once and get help fast.”

Since its inception in April 2017, the Intensive Case Management Team in Maple Ridge has assisted people facing challenges related to health, mental health, housing and poverty by taking a co-ordinated, holistic approach and connecting them with treatment and support services to help them improve their lives.

The team members work with each person on an individual basis to help them access whatever health or social services they may need. This can range from psychiatric care, primary care and addiction specialist support to helping address housing, income assistance and food security issues.

Public engagement

Public information sessions to provide details on these new housing projects and the mental-health and addictions services available to residents will be held later this month. This will allow direct feedback from residents and provide the opportunity to ask questions and inform development.