Permit granted for Riley Park homeless housing complex

A plan to temporarily redevelop part of Vancouver‘s Little Mountain social housing site has been approved, the city announced Wednesday.

The land near Queen Elizabeth Park was initially owned by the federal government, but was more than a decade ago. The land was rezoned by the city in 2016, and a development permit for a temporary housing complex was approved this week.

Work will begin later this month on a modular building of 46 studio apartments on the lot at 137 East 37th Ave. Each 320-square-foot apartment in the three-storey structure will include a private bathroom and kitchenette, and six units will be wheelchair accessible.

The building will have shared laundry, an administration office and meeting rooms for staff and residents.

Tenants will pay reduced rent, and will have customized supports including life skills training, volunteer work and employment preparation programs. The building will be staffed 24 hours a day by a non-profit housing operator that will also establish a committee to ensure an ongoing dialogue with others who live in the neighbourhood.

BC Housing has chosen Coast Mental Health as that operator.

  • Read a on the city‘s website

The project was approved after a consultation process that included two community information sessions and meetings with organizations and businesses in the area.

The complex is one of several modular buildings erected in Vancouver as part of a $66-million funding commitment from the province.

Buildings are made of easily-built modules that can be relocated and reconfigured to fit a range of sites. So far, 156 of Vancouver‘s modular apartments are tenanted, and another 104 are under construction.

A pre-development application has been submitted for another building, which will contain about 100 units.

The city plans to use each of its modular housing complexes for a period of a few years years, with the option of extending their use if needed. The Little Mountain building is expected to be in use for three years, starting in October.

Modular housing will not delay future plans for the lot, the city said. Construction on a permanent development, which will provide about 1,300 units of traditional housing and 282 of social housing, will begin when the temporary complex has been removed.

Construction on phase one of the permanent development, involving properties nearby, will begin later this year, the city estimated.

Former residents of Little Mountain will be given first access to the permanent social housing units.