'Everyone deserves a safe place to call home': Modular housing complex opens for Indigenous peoples
A 98-unit modular housing building is pictured on Heather Street on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.
A complex of nearly 100 homes has been built in Vancouver to support local Indigenous people who are homeless.
The city announced the opening of a modular complex named "New Beginnings" on Friday. The 98-unit building on Heather Street north of West 37th Avenue is made up of apartments measuring about 320 square feet.
Each unit contains a bathroom and a kitchen, and 12 are fully wheelchair accessible.
The complex is one of eight modular buildings that have opened across B.C. in the last few years, and is part of a commitment from the province to build 600 homes in Vancouver.
"Everyone deserves a safe place to call home," Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore said in a statement Friday.
"We are helping people into homes with 24/7 supports, so that they can be connected to the health and life-skills opportunities they need."
Programs offered at New Beginnings include meals, employment training, health and wellness services and opportunities for volunteer work.
"The building will provide a strong foundation for people currently experiencing homelessness and we are pleased that Indigenous residents will be prioritized as tenants for these new homes," Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.
Margaret Pfoh, CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, said local Indigenous peoples are being prioritized for a reason.
"In light of the 2018 report on homeless counts in B.C., the overrepresentation of homeless Indigenous peoples continues to grow at an alarming rate," she said.
A total of 1,904 respondents, or 38 per cent, in last year's report identified as Indigenous.