Victoria/Chilliwack – The Province is partnering with the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society on a proposal to provide 50 additional supportive homes and a 40-bed shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Chilliwack.
BC Housing and Phoenix Society have submitted a rezoning application to the City of Chilliwack for the project, which would be located at the corner of Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue. The site is ideal for use as a shelter and supportive housing project as it is close to public transportation, clinics and other amenities.
If rezoning is approved, construction is expected to start in late spring or summer 2021. Mayor Ken Popove told chillTV and FVN that another component of this plan could include a sweat lodge for Indigenous healing.
The Portal Temporary Use permit expires in April of this year although if any delays occur, Mayor Popove noted that the Portal may remain in use until the fall.
“There’s a significant need to provide more supportive housing and shelter spaces for vulnerable people in Chilliwack,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “If approved, this project will provide safety and the possibility of a fresh start for people who are struggling to find an affordable place to live.”
“Phoenix Society is excited to work with BC Housing and the City of Chilliwack on this proposal,” said Keir Macdonald, CEO, Phoenix Society. “We are confident it will provide the necessary supports to those who are in need in Chilliwack to help change the trajectory of their lives. We are grateful to have been chosen to run this much-needed facility and to be able to provide safe and secure housing and support services to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”
Society staff would be on site 24/7 to provide support services for residents, including life skills training, mentorship and wellness checks, and would encourage culturally appropriate programming.
“Providing supports for people experiencing homelessness involves an enormous amount of teamwork and collaboration,” said Ken Popove, mayor, City of Chilliwack. “We are grateful the Province recognizes a need for supportive housing and shelter space in Chilliwack and look forward to working with them further.”
Fraser Health, through an integrated response team, will provide primary health care, home health and mental health and substance use services on site to some residents and shelter guests, as well as referral to mental health and substance use recovery programs, as needed.
The three- to four-storey modular-built project would be shaped like an “L” with supportive housing on one side and the shelter on the other side. The building would include offices, meeting rooms and a commercial kitchen. The 50 homes would be studio units with their own bathrooms and kitchens. The shelter would be open nightly and provide a warm, safe and physically distanced place for people to stay.
“I’m grateful for the efforts of BC Housing and Phoenix Society for working together on this proposal,” said Dan Coulter, MLA for Chilliwack. “Additional homes with supports and shelter spaces are desperately needed in the community so more people can get off the streets and into safe and secure housing.”
A community advisory committee (CAC) would be formed, which would include project partners and neighbourhood representatives. The CAC would help address any concerns that may arise.