Thursday, December 15, 2022

Port Alberni housing plans may be blue print for Homeless situation in Prince Rupert

The Province of British Columbia announced funding yesterday for a rather unique approach to tackling the homeless issue, with the community of Port Alberni in Central Vancouver Island set to develop a Tiny Homes Village for some of their homeless population.

Yesterday, the David Eby government  announced that construction had started on the First Tiny Shelter Village in Port Alberni which will see 30 homes provided for people experiencing homelessness in the community.

“We recognize the urgent need for safe and secure homes for vulnerable people in Port Alberni, especially for Indigenous people, who are heavily over-represented among British Columbians experiencing homelessness. The creation of this new tiny-shelter village will help move people off the street or from unsafe living conditions into safe homes with supports so they can better begin to stabilize their lives. I thank the Port Alberni community, and each and every one of our partners for putting this project together so quickly. This initiative simply could not have been done without them.” -- Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim.

The Tiny Shelter Village will have the temporary modular housing placed on pods, with amenity space, washrooms and an office. Other features include bicycle parking and two outdoor gathering spaces.

The Port Alberni Friendship Centre (PAFC) will operate the village and will have staff on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support services, including health and wellness supports, life-skills training and culturally appropriate services for Indigenous Peoples. 

Residents will also be provided as many as three meals a day.

The province has provided for close to 726,000 dollars in funding through BC Housing, included in that is  75,000 dollars in startup costs, along with another 850,000 dollars in operation funds.

The City of Port Alberni provided the land for the project, as well as ongoing municipal utility operating expenses and a $165,000 grant. The PAFC is contributing $226,000, while the Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program is supporting the setup of utilities at the site.

In June, the City of Port Alberni applauded a previous funding announcement, noting of their purchase of the land in 2021 for use for the temporary housing facility.

The timeline towards move in day is also impressive, with the construction period expected to be completed in early 2023.

The Port Alberni project is the third Tiny Home initiative in place on the island, with two others in place in the Greater Victoria area.

The provincial announcement can be reviewed here.

Some further background on the plan is available below:

The project may be one worth a look by Provincial and municipal officials here on the North Coast, offering as it does a temporary solution to a growing problem in this community. 

Making for some welcome housing relief,  while other more permanent accommodation comes along.

More notes on Housing in Prince Rupert can be reviewed here.

Items of interest from the Provincial scene can be examined through our Legislature archive.

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