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Vancouver’s modular housing for homeless meets mixed reception


December 8, 2017
by Canadian Architect

In Vancouver’s Marpole neighbourhood, a new modular housing concept aiming to combat homelessness in the urban core garnered both praise and criticism from the community as construction kicked off on a pair of buildings that will house a combined 78 units. The Marpole site is the first phase of a larger plan to build 600 units across the city, made possible by a $66 million funding commitment from the government of British Columbia.

Designed to house part of the city’s homeless population, the pair of buildings at the northeast corner of Heather Avenue and West 59th have simultaneously been celebrated and enthusiastically contested, with the Supreme Court of British Columbia recently granting an injunction for the City of Vancouver to remove protesters disrupting the Marpole work site. Our sister publication, Building Magazine, has the full story:

Marpole

The Marpole site. Image via City of Vancouver.

Ethel Whitty, Vancouver’s director of homelessness services, said it is typical for residents to protest this kind of project before embracing it, which has been the experience with the 13 permanent supportive housing initiatives located across the city.

“People forget they’re even there,” Whitty said.  “That’s the thing. In some cases there will be resistance right in the very beginning. The community advisory committees will be set up and people will come once a month and then quarterly and then interest kind of drops off because, in fact, the housing just becomes integrated into the community.”Other groups have expressed support for the project, including an organization made up mostly of students from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, a block from the Marpole project.

You can find the full story via Building Magazine, linked here.



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