In a city where the plight of homeless people has been highlighted by a battle between the province and it's municipal government, good news is on the way for those without a roof over their head.

Construction has begun on a new 94-unit, six-storey building that will provide more affordable rental housing for families and seniors, thanks to a partnership between Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services and the B.C. government.

“We all know how housing affordability has affected so many of us and quite frankly a lot of action was not taken in the past,” said Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith at a ground-breaking ceremony Monday morning. “And were working really hard to make different choices and putting people first.”

Built on Katzie First Nation land at 22768 119 Ave. in Maple Ridge, the affordable housing building is the largest for the community services organization, which first started serving the Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge communities in 1971.

“(Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services) will now finally have a permanent address after many in the past, and it’s going to be great to see them occupy the main floor of the building,” said Maple Ridge’s mayor, Mike Morden, about the organization.

Morden has previously locked horns with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing over a tented community at Anita’s Place in Maple Ridge including accusing homeless people of “raping and pillaging” his community in a 34-minute long YouTube interview. That tent camp was taken down by city crews on Friday.

"It's very disappointing. We need to stick to the facts," said Housing Minister Selina Robinson in response to the mayor's comments in April. "We have a number of people who have been left homeless because of years of inaction and as a government. We're responding by providing not just housing but 24-7 supports for people to get their feet underneath them and create a life for themselves that works better for them."

 According to a news release from the province, the building will consist of

•             36 studios rentals

•             40 one-bedroom rentals

•             13 two-bedroom rentals

•             Five three-bedroom suites

 The province projects the rents of the units to be:

•             One bedroom: $375 to $1,050/month

•             Two bedroom: $1,200 to $1,400/month

•             Three bedroom: $1,400 to $1,600/month

 "We are incredibly grateful for the financial support of the Province of British Columbia and the guidance from BC Housing as we design and construct this beautiful building that will combine a community of multi-use residential homes with social services space for over 30 different programs and services," said Vicki Kipps, the executive director of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Community Services in a statement.

The building is expected to be finished by early 2021.