There are more than 40 people experiencing homelessness in Hope right now, and even more when one accounts for those staying at the House of Hope shelter.
But by this time next year, there could be more than 50 supportive housing units in Hope, providing a roof, meals, health supports, and life and employment skills training. BC Housing made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, after striking a partnership with the Hope and Area Transition Society.
The new supportive housing would provide 52 units, in addition to the 20 beds at the shelter. They would be on the adjoining properties, at 660/670 Old Hope Princeton Way. The project’s next step is to submit a rezoning application, which was to happen on Nov. 26.
If approved, the project is set to be complete by the summer of 2020. It would be Hope’s very first supportive housing project.
“Hope and Area Transition Society has been the primary lead on homelessness initiatives in Hope since 2008,” said Gerry Dyble, executive director, Hope and Area Transition Society. “For the past decade, Hope has seen a growing number of vulnerable and at-risk people in need of housing and support services.”
There is no doubt there is a housing crisis in Hope, where rental vacancies have been hovering at zero for some time. An affordable housing project will be ready in the spring, but differs from supportive housing, which offers programming to improve its residents’ lives.
“Many people have been displaced as a result of the rising cost of rentals,” Dyble says. “The fact is that Hope does not have affordable housing options or a continuum of housing options for those facing complex challenges. Having supportive housing in Hope will mean that the most vulnerable will no longer be living in unsafe, unsupportive conditions, they will be able to find dignity, gain purpose and stabilize their mental health and substance-use issues.”
BC Housing would lead the construction of the project. The society would operate the building and provide residents with meal programs, life and employment skills training, and health and wellness support services.
“This project is a great example of how we’re working with partners to make life better for people in Hope,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Everyone deserves stable housing, and these new supportive homes will give people experiencing homelessness in Hope the foundation they need to move forward with their lives. We’re proud to be working with our partners to deliver thousands of new homes like these across B.C.”
The proposed development would be located at 660/670 Old Hope Princeton Way, connected to House of Hope, a 20-bed shelter that the society has operated since fall 2018.
If the project is approved, BC Housing will update the community with the estimated project cost and proposed construction timeline. If approved, funding for the project would come from the Province’s Supportive Housing Fund.
To learn more about the community information sessions for supportive housing at 650 Old Hope Princeton Way, visit: www.bchousing.org/hope.
A Public Information Meeting will be held on Dec. 5 at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Hope. There will be both an afternoon and an evening session, and representatives from BC Housing, HATS, local Health Authorities, and the RCMP will be available to answer questions.