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 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.

Just Posted

Carol Young, an artist who fought for timely cancer treatment in Abbotsford, dies before first solo show

B.C. Haida artist’s exhibit to open Saturday at downtown Seattle gallery

Paramedics respond to two-car crash in Abbotsford

Sedan and SUV collided just after 10 a.m. on Ash Street

KMS Tools celebrating grand opening in Abbotsford

New location on McConnell Road, right next to Costco

Volunteer organization provides first aid and rescue services

Main fundraiser, the Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap, takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Nov. 16 and 17

Highway 1 crash in Langley slowing traffic

Accident happened at 232nd Street and has left one car on the right shoulder

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Union ‘not at all’ optimistic that transit strike will resolve before full work stoppage

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Black Press career fair happening now at Langley Events Centre

Find your dream job at the Black Press career fair

Transgender inmate in Surrey denied transfer to women’s prison

Petitioner argued denial of transfer to women’s prison was unreasonable and unfair

Most Read