Temporary modular housing approved for Heather Lands site

The two buildings will have 98 suites with priority given to Indigenous residents

Vancouver’s director of planning announced Thursday the approval of a development permit to build 98 new temporary modular homes at 5077 and 5095 Heather St.

For the two buildings on the site (formerly 4949 Heather St.), which is part of the 21-acre Heather Lands development site, priority will be given to Indigenous residents experiencing homelessness.

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“The focus on supporting Indigenous residents in these buildings is in line with the need identified through Vancouver’s annual homeless count, which shows Indigenous people make up 40 per cent of Vancouver’s homeless population,” the city said in a press release.

B.C. Housing has selected Lu’ma Native Housing Society as the non-profit housing operator. Lu’ma will provide support services to the tenants 24/7, including life skills training, volunteer work, employment preparation and connections to community-based programs.

Construction is anticipated to begin at the end of September and both buildings are expected to open in late December. Each suite will be approximately 320 square feet with individual heating, a kitchenette, bathroom and living/sleeping area. And six units in each building will be wheelchair accessible.

The buildings will also include a large indoor amenity space with a commercial kitchen to encourage social interaction and a communal place for residents to gather. The front yard will have a shared outdoor amenity space with tables and gardening planters for residents to use.

As part of the development permit process, the city hosted two community information sessions. About 60 people attended. Staff also had meetings with businesses in the area, schools and parent advisory councils, neighbourhood associations, local churches, child care centres and hospitals.

The city received 19 comment cards and 14 emails from the public, both in support and opposition, with those in opposition citing concerns about the length of community engagement and a risk to safety for the neighbourhood.

As a condition of approval of the development permit, a Community Advisory Committee will be established to provide an ongoing forum for information sharing and dialogue between the community and the program partners — comprised of Lu’ma Native Housing Society, members of the community and representatives from Vancouver Coastal Health, B.C. Housing, Vancouver Police Department and the City of Vancouver.

On May 15, the city approved the Heather Lands policy statement, which will guide growth and development on the sprawling property, which is between West 33rd and 37th at Heather Street.

The temporary modular housing is separate from the upcoming rezoning and permanent development of the site.

The new homes are part of a $66 million commitment from the province towards building 600 new units of temporary modular housing in the city.

The 98 units approved this week bring the total number of homes to 502, with another approximately 100 proposed homes still going through the development permit stage.

Status of temporary modular housing projects in Vancouver:

Approved: 502 units

  • Reiderman Residence - 7430 and 7460 Heather Street (78 homes built and tenanted)
  • Chartrand Place - 1131 Franklin Street (39 homes built and tenanted)
  • Aneki Housing for Women - 525 Powell (39 homes built and tenanted)
  • Sarah Ross House - 4480 (formerly 4410) Kaslo Street (52 homes built and tenanted)
  • M. Mitchell Place - 2132 Ash Street (formerly 595 and 599 West 2nd Avenue) (52 homes built)
  • Little Mountain 137 E 37th Ave (46 homes under construction)
  • 610 and 620 (formerly 688) Cambie Street (98 homes under construction)
  • 5077 and 5095 Heather Street (98 homes approved)

Development permit stage: approximately 100 units

  • 215 West 1st Avenue (approximately 50 homes, development permit application has been submitted to the City)
  • Union and Gore (898 Main St) (approximately 50 homes, development permit application has been submitted to the City)

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