Rental supplements could help house Abbotsford’s homeless

20 individuals will receive top-ups from B.C. Housing

The homeless shelter on Riverside Road has 40 beds. File photo

The homeless shelter on Riverside Road has 40 beds. File photo

The Riverside Shelter in Abbotsford has helped move 146 people into more permanent housing since it opened in 2015, but only four per cent of those men and women found themselves living in market rental homes and apartments.

That number may rise in the coming months, thanks to new funds from the provincial government.

B.C. Housing recently approved $188,000 in ongoing annual funding for supplements to go through the shelter on Riverside Road, run by the Lookout Housing and Health Society. The money will pay for outreach staff, supplies and transport, as well as top-ups to help 20 of the community’s most vulnerable individuals afford rent in a red-hot housing market with the country’s lowest vacancy rate.

“So you have a 0.2 vacancy rate in Abbotsford … it’s just incredible,” Lookout’s executive director, Shayne Williams, said. “How do people get housed? This is just one more tool to help people take that step forward.”

The province already funds 40 such supplements though the Salvation Army in Abbotsford and 20 through Abbotsford Community Services.

Williams said the supplements will also free up space in the “constantly full” Riverside Shelter, as people living outside face another “daunting winter.”

Riverside was originally planned as a temporary 40-bed shelter, slated to close in September this year. This summer, however, B.C. Housing decided to continue funding its operation costs “so that it can operate until an alternative is developed,” according to documents acquired by The News through a Freedom of Information request.

The shelter is on city land.

Williams said there has been a shift in attitude from the city towards homelessness in recent years.

“The municipality has done such a wonderful job at creating more opportunities for the community’s most vulnerable in Abbotsford,” he said. “It’s come a long way from past challenges within council.”

The shelter is accepting donated goods to gift to its clients for Christmas, Williams said. Items can be dropped off at 1640 Riverside Rd.


@KelvinGawley
kelvin.gawley@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford residents gather at the intersection of Clearbrook Road and South Fraser Way on Tuesday to raise awareness of what they say is the mistreatment of farmers by the Indian government. Organizers say demonstrations will be ongoing daily in Abbotsford. (Maan Sidhu photo)
Abbotsford residents continue demonstrations against treatment of Indian farmers

Locals gathered at intersection of Clearbrook Road and South Fraser Way, larger event set for Sunday

The westbound lanes of Highway 1 between Clearbrook and McCallum roads were closed to traffic Wednesday morning after a fatal collision involving a pedestrian.
Pedestrian dies after being struck by vehicle on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Collision takes place early Wednesday morning between Clearbrook and McCallum roads

DriveBC photo.
Westbound Highway 1 lanes in Abbotsford closed as crews investigate serious crash

Crash occurred between McCallum and Clearbrook roads at around 4 a.m., next update at 8 a.m.

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

FILE – A near empty waterfront train platform is pictured in downtown Vancouver, Monday, April 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
TransLink disables some services for second day due to ‘suspicious network activity’

Customers cannot use credit card or debit card at fare gates or Compass card vending machines

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

Most Read