Anhart’s plan is for a three-storey, 25,000 square foot modular housing project. A basic design is shown on the screen at city council last Monday. The building would have 40 units, 10 per cent of those wheelchair accessible, as well as common areas and parking. Emelie Peacock photo

Vancouver housing society expanding to Fraser Valley

Rent as low as $425 in proposed Hope housing project

Hope will soon have apartments for rent for as low as $425, if a building plan by a Downtown Eastside housing organization goes ahead.

A delegation from the Anhart Housing Society presented an ambitious plan to council last Monday, to construct 40 purpose-built units at 1270 Ryder St., where a funeral home now stands. Council showed their support for the idea, voting to write a general letter of support for affordable housing in Hope.

The housing would be truly affordable, Crystal Wiebe told council. Targeting the lowest income earners possible, the units would range from as low as $425 per month up to $1,000 for larger units.

Wiebe said the organization has put an offer on the property and are currently doing site surveys and other assessments. The zoning of the property is the main hurdle to getting the project built.

“I know the current zoning on the property is not going to give us the density that we need,” Wiebe said.

The property on Ryder St. is currently zoned as institutional and would need to be rezoned, director of community development Jas Gill said.

The building would be a modular housing project with 16 studios, 15 one-bedrooms, six two-bedroom and three three-bedrooms as well as parking and bike parking on the property. Wiebe said 10 per cent of the units would be wheelchair accessible and it would be a pet-friendly building.

A modular housing building could be completed within a year once all permissions are given said Mukhtar Latif, development advisor for Anhart and former chief housing officer at the City of Vancouver.

Hope is facing disappearing affordable rental stock, Wiebe said. As affordable rentals are torn down and replaced with market rentals and condos, people get pushed into homelessness.

With Hope’s rate of homelessness highest it has ever been according to a 2017 regional district survey, Weibe said there is a clear need for affordable rentals.

Wiebe spoke of seniors in Hope who could not be discharged from hospital as there is no place for them to stay, of families looking to move to Hope but forced to relocate elsewhere because of the housing situation.

“I know that there’s a strong need for seniors, there’s a strong need for working poor that just can’t afford to make ends meet and the housing keeps getting farther and farther out of reach,” she said.

Coun. Gerry Dyble agreed there is a need for a continuum of housing in Hope, referring to the range of housing options from emergency shelters to home ownership that are needed to meet the shelter needs of residents.

Coun. Donna Kropp asked about community consultation Anhart plans to engage in.

“Everyone has a difference of opinion, it’s hard to please everybody. But really what we believe in the end is just more information is always better because rumours and fears always abound when people don’t know what to expect,” Wiebe responded. “So we’re very happy to talk with the community. We want a good relationship with the neighbours.”

Wiebe added Anhart has finished some projects which were contentious, most recently the construction of a 78-unit modular housing project in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Marpole set to open this month.

The project met resistance from some residents who said they were not properly consulted by the city. The B.C. Supreme Court ordered protesters to stop blocking the construction of the project in December and in January ruled against a petition the group filed.

The housing Anhart provides is a lot more than just a roof and four walls, Weibe said. The organization connects with existing support services in the community, creates social enterprises for employment and creates programs for tenant wellness and stability.

The presentation last Monday did not come with a financial ask, as the organization finances its project through private donors or Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation money.

“We want financing through private sources or CMHC has some options for affordable housing,” Wiebe said. “Zero sum operating, we don’t want to depend on subsidies. We want the project to be able to run for the life without depending on government subsidies.”

Anhart has experience building and running supportive housing projects in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for people at risk of homelessness.

The organization is rebranding from its former name Community Builders and growing, with plans to build 20,000 units total in the next 10 years.

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

 

Just Posted

Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford offers virtual classes

Sessions begin in October and include art classes and book club

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Irish folk supergroup Kíla set to perform on Saturday

Online concert will be available through Harrison Festival Society

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

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

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Most Read