Construction set to begin on Gladys supportive housing project

Thirty-unit facility for men who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, is expected to open in mid-2017.

Construction is due to start on the Gladys Avenue supportive housing project.

Construction is due to start on the Gladys Avenue supportive housing project.

After years of negotiations and delays, construction will officially begin Thursday on a new supportive housing project for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

A groundbreaking ceremony will kick off the construction stage of the Gladys Avenue project, which will see a four-storey building with 30 “low-barrier” units for men who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Construction is anticipated to take 15 months, with the facility set to open in mid-2017.

Delays with contracts had bumped back the anticipated construction by around six months.

The $2.4 million construction cost for the project is funded by BC Housing. The number of units at the site was increased by 10 in late October due to demand. The move, however, drew criticism from some neighbours, who expressed concern about the impact on the area.

Residents will include those with drug and alcohol addictions, and Abbotsford Community Services staff will provide treatment and support services at the site.

Construction comes more than two years after a tie vote by a previous council quashed a proposal for a supportive housing project. The Gladys Avenue proposal was approved several months later in 2014 as the city continued to struggle to address homelessness.

The groundbreaking event is set for Thursday at 1 p.m.