The plan to build a temporary supportive housing building immediately south of SkyTrain Bridgeport Station in North Richmond is proceeding.

 Construction is scheduled to begin soon on a three-storey modular structure at the vacant site of 2520-2640 Smith Street, which will provide 40 self-contained units — each with a private washroom and kitchenette.

 Similar to other temporary modular housing buildings, it will also have a commercial kitchen, common laundry facilities, and storage space, as well as 24/7 staffing by a non-profit operator, which will provide residents with support services such as daily meals, life skills training, employment assistance, counselling, physical and mental health resources, and access to addiction treatment and recovery services.

 BC Housing pursued this project to replace Richmond’s temporary emergency response centre at the former Minoru Place Activity Centre, where 45 shelter beds were created for the needs of individuals facing or at risk of homelessness during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The new temporary building will open to residents in Spring 2022 and remain in place for about three years. The use of the former Minoru Place Activity Centre is anticipated to end in Summer 2022.

 The provincial government is providing $8.6 million for the construction of the structure and an annual operating subsidy of about $1.4 million, while the City of Richmond is offering a $250,000 grant and city-owned land for the building.

 “The Bridgeport project is an important step in addressing local affordable housing needs and will provide much-needed transitional accommodation for Richmond residents experiencing homelessness,” said Richmond mayor Malcolm Brodie in a statement.

 “The City of Richmond is committed to remaining a local leader and working with the Province, BC Housing and community organizations to make housing and services available for Richmond’s most vulnerable residents.”

 An estimated 85 people in Richmond are homeless, based on the 2020 homeless count in the municipality. This is a 21% increase since 2017.

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Source: RE/MAX Canada