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Beedie Living Proposes 7 Townhouse Units for Como Lake Gardens

Beedie Living is proposing to build a 26-storey residential tower adjacent to the YWCA’s Como Lake Gardens supportive housing facility which will incorporate 7 YWCA townhouse units along Como Lake Avenue in Coquitlam. These 7 units will expand the number of affordable units currently available for female-lead single parent households, the demand for which has been apparent since Como Lake Gardens opened in April 2012. (more…)

Coquitlam Approves Development Permit for Shelter/Transitional Housing Facility

Coquitlam Council has approved a Development Permit and Housing Agreement for a 26,573 square foot four-storey building which will house 30 permanent emergency shelter beds in single rooms and 30 transitional housing suites on City-owned land at 3030 Gordon Avenue. The approval received unanimous support of Council at its January 13, 2014 meeting, and constitutes Council’s final approval for the facility. Construction is expected to start this spring, following granting of a Building Permit. The facility, to be funded by BC Housing and operated by RainCity Housing , will open in late spring 2015.

Coquitlam Approves Temporary Use Permit for Bridge Shelter

On November 4th, Coquitlam Council unanimously approved an application for a Temporary Use Permit for Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship to host 1 month of the Bridge Shelter program this winter season and next.  There were 2 speakers to the application, both in favour.  Council’s pride in Coquitlam’s participation in the Bridge Shelter program was evident from the comments of Council members.

This secures 4 of 5 sites for this season’s operation of the Bridge Shelter.  An application for a TUP for Northside Kingsway Church in Port Coquitlam is pending.

The Bridge Shelter opened November 1st at Calvary Baptist Church in Coquitlam.

Tri-Cities Bridge Shelter Opens November 1st

The Tri-Cities Bridge Shelter is opening for the cold wet weather season on Friday, November 1st.  It will continue to operate nightly from 10 PM – 7 AM until March 31st.  The program is operated by the Hope For Freedom Society using host church facilities in the Tri-Cities on a rotating basis.  Homeless persons are picked up at designated muster points in the Tri-Cities and bused to the shelter location. The shelter has a capacity of 30 mats. Eligible patrons are adult men and women, 19 years of age and older.  There is no provision for pets, however there is storage for personal possessions. Shelter patrons are provided with supper, breakfast and a bag lunch, dry clothes if necessary and a warm, safe place to sleep.  Connections can also be provided to services available in the Tri-Cities.  Patrons will be transported back to the pick-up point at 7 AM each morning.

An application is currently before the City of Coquitlam for a Temporary Use Permit to permit the Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship, 1160 Lansdowne Drive in Coquitlam to host the Bridge Shelter for a period of 1 month during this winter season and next.  To show your support for this application, please attend the Coquitlam Council meeting on Monday, November 4th at 7 PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 3000 Guildford Way, Coquitlam.

Support “Dignity for All” Campaign to Make Affordable Housing a Top Priority

The Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group has joined Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada in its campaign to request that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her fellow premiers put adequate, affordable housing at the top of the agenda at the upcoming Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, July 24 – 26 2013.  Dignity for All has sent a letter to Premier Wynne encouraging her to make affordable housing a top priority when she hosts the Council of the Federation by putting pressure on the federal government to: 1) fund the $1.7 billion in expiring annual operating funds for social housing providers, and 2) implement a robust national housing strategy.

You can add your voice!  Simply sign your name to this pre-populated e-mail and hit “send”.  Please also cc Premier Christy Clark at premier@gov.bc.ca.

Task Group Publishes Report on the Housing Needs of Women and Their Children in the Tri-Cities

The Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group has published a report on the unmet needs for housing for female single parents and their dependent children in the Tri-Cities.  The report includes available demographic information, an inventory of existing housing and supports for women and children in the Tri-Cities, information about vulnerable population sub-groups, and project priorities and needed services.

The report, prepared by M. Ninow Consulting and funded by a grant from Vancity,  highlights 3 key issues:

1. Lone parents – particularly female lone parents – are a particularly vulnerable demographic of our community.  Not only do they often need to deal with the after-effects of trauma and violence and often have limited income, they also have a duty of care to provide a safe and secure home for their children.  The community has a vested interest in the welfare of these families so that their children grow into independent, productive adults rather than perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

2. Although there is an unmet need for several forms of housing for women and their children in the Tri-Cities, the primary need is for safe, secure housing that costs no more than 30% of gross household income, with proximity to efficient transit services. As of March 31st, 2013, there were 153 “women with children” households in the Tri-Cities on BC Housing’s wait list for non-market housing.  The number of female lone parent households paying more than 50 % of their income for housing (and therefore considered at risk of homelessness) is considerably greater.

3. Support for female lone parent families – such as counselling, support networks, connection to community services, job training and employment services, and child care – needs to be available as required to help stabilize their lives, enhance their independent living skills, and reconnect with their communities.

To view the report, click here: Housing Needs of Women and their Children in the Tri-Cities

Tri-Cities Dental Aid Clinic Opens

The Tri-Cities Dental Aid Clinic, a much-needed addition to the resources available for homeless persons in the Tri-Cities, will officially open at 2 PM on Saturday, May 4th.  The opening will be followed by an opportunity to tour the clinic, located at Northside Church, 2606 Kingsway Ave. Port Coquitlam, from 2 – 3 PM.  Although the initial focus of the clinic will be persons who are homeless, over time it is expected the clinic will broaden its range of services to address the dental needs of persons who are precariously housed as well.

A sincere thank you to Dr. Kevin Lauwers and family, without whose generosity, time and effort the Tri-Cities Dental Aid Clinic would not be a possibility.

First Annual Tri-Cities Housing Affordability Report Released

The Tri-Cities Homelessness & Housing Task Group has released its first Tri-Cities Annual Housing Affordability Report.  Its purpose is to provide a report card on indicators of living affordability in the Tri-Cities as it relates to the cost of shelter, and to provide trends where that data is available. There are 18 indicators grouped in 3 categories: housing affordability, housing availability and housing need.  The report identifies 5 key issues:

  1. Average rents for apartments have risen 6% since 2008 – from $746 to $794 for a single bedroom, and from $933 to $989 for 2 bedrooms, reflecting the age of the Tri-Cities purpose-built rental units. Market rent for a new 1 bedroom apartment, even with developer incentives, could be in the $1,000 – $1,100 range.
  2. Although few rental units have been lost to demolition or conversion to strata ownership, that could change as construction of Evergreen Line stations at Burquitlam and Moody Centre puts pressure for redevelopment on aging rental properties. It will be very difficult to replace these units at current rents without significant developer incentives.
  3. According to the 2006 census, 31% of Tri-Cities renters were in “core housing need”, spending more than 30% of their gross household income on shelter, and 11% of renters were at-risk of homelessness. With the downturn in the economy in 2008, it is expected that 2011 census data available later this year will reveal an increase in both categories of need.
  4. Less than a quarter of renter households lived in purpose-built rental units in 2009, underlining the importance of the “secondary” rental market – secondary suites, social housing, and owner rented housing. In particular, secondary suites tend to have lower rents than purpose-built apartments and play an important role in the affordable housing market.
  5. Although the percentage of owner households at-risk of homelessness is considerably smaller than renter households, the actual number is surprisingly large – almost 2,500 households according to the 2006 census. At the same time over 4,400 owner households had annual incomes less than $20,000.

To view the full report, click here: Housing Affordability Report – 2013

Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness Seeking New Members

The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness (RSCH) is a coalition of community organizations and all levels of government.  It’s mission is to inspire and lead a co-ordinated response to homelessness through the full implementation of the Regional Homelessness Plan “Three Ways to Home”, which reflects the three elements of the solution to homelessness: affordable housing, adequate income and support services.  The RSCH is implementing a new structure following a just-completed organizational review and is inviting all interested individuals and agencies to enroll for membership at www.surveymonkey.com/s/RSCH_membership_network.  The deadline for registration is April 19th.

Interested agencies and agencies may also apply to join an Advisory Group, and agencies may also apply for a seat at the Constituency Table, the decision-making body.  To learn more about the RSCH structure and membership application process, click here.

Federal Budget Continues Funding for Affordable Housing

The federal budget, announced yesterday, commits Ottawa to five more years of funding for affordable housing at the same level as previous: $253 million a year over 5 years, which must be matched by the provinces and territories and can be spent on new construction, renovation, home ownership assistance, rent supplements, shelters and homes for battered spouses.

The budget also commits to five more years of funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, although at $119 million per year, down from the previous $134.8 million per year.  There is also a new emphasis on “housing first” rather than on shelters and support services without housing.
Read more at Ottawa commits to five more years of funding for affordable housing