Architect's 40-year dream to house homeless
Published Monday, March 9, 2009 7:56PM PDT
The B.C. provincial government is considering a radical new plan for housing the homeless -- modular units that can be stacked on vacant land.
While shelters aren't a permanent solution, they could ease the growing problem.
"Were pretty close to making some decisions on this," said Housing Minister Rich Coleman of the proposal.
With over 2,000 homeless people on the streets of Greater Vancouver, many say that a solution is urgently needed.
These shelters would cost about $38,000 for a room about 11 feet by 11 feet, and a shared bathroom or $45,000 for a single room with a bathroom.
They could be done by early September if builders were given the green light now.
Michael Geller, veteran architect and 2008 city council candidate for the N.P.A., has recommended this solution for Vancouver.
"This was my thesis at university," said Geller, describing the proposal which he first thought of 40 years ago. "You would set them up on vacant sites around the city -- public or private sites. They can be located there for a couple of years until those sites are ready to be re-developed."
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is open to the plan, but the city is still far from making a decision.
"Neighborhoods in Europe have embraced container housing," he said. "It's not anything that new -- but it's new to Vancouver."
Though the proposal may pass, council says it would be difficult to find a community that would be willing to have these structures in their back yard.
Two options include open land near the Georgia Street viaduct or the site of the old Drake Hotel by the corner of Powell Street and Heatley Avenue.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson.