Update: March 14, 2016
Will the shelter be closing on March 31, 2016?
In January of 2016 Council was provided with an update by BC Housing and the shelter operator as part of their regular Workshop Meeting. At that time Council was told that there was a plan to deal with the needs of each of the shelter residents relating to housing and health care and the scheduled closing date was still March 31, 2016.
Here is a link to the January 22, 2016 Workshop video. The shelter update begins at 1:50 of the recording.
At the end of February Council was approached by BC Housing with a proposal to keep the shelter open for an additional three months to give them time to purchase and renovate another building in the community to create a supportive housing facility to address the shortage of permanent housing options in the City. As this proposal involved the purchase of land, the discussions had to be held in a ‘Closed’ meeting.
On Thursday, March 10, 2016 the Province of BC issued the following media release.
The text of the release reads;
Province providing more funding to help address homelessness
The B.C. government is providing $270,000 to allow the 40-bed temporary shelter in Maple Ridge to remain open until the end of June 2016.
The three month extension will ensure that vulnerable individuals continue to have access to a warm, safe place to stay, while permanent housing solutions are being arranged.
To this end, the Province has made an offer to purchase the Quality Inn for approximately $5.5 million. The building will provide 61 units of long-term supportive housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including people currently at the temporary shelter.
The purchase will be finalized in early May. BC Housing will hold a public meeting later this month, prior to the close of the sale, for local residents who have questions about the project. Details will be made available as soon as possible.
Located at 21735 Lougheed Highway, the building is expected to open in June, following renovations.
Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing –
“We have put in place a long-term housing solution in Maple Ridge that will address the immediate need for new affordable housing for 61 men and women in the community. This will allow us to get them off the street and connect them with services that can help to stabilize their lives.”
- This year, more than 102,500 BC households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
- The province provided more than $5 million last year to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for more than 1,100 households in Maple Ridge.
- In 2015, close to 170 homeless people in Maple Ridge were housed through rent supplements and shelter services.
- Since 2001, the BC government has invested $4.4 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families.
For more information on affordable housing programs and the province’s efforts to end homelessness in BC, please visit:
What was the City’s response to this announcement?
The City’s response can be viewed here.
The BC Government news release triggered the release of Council’s motions from the Closed Meeting. Here are the two motions that were made by Council from the March 7, 2016 Closed Council Meeting.
The first motion reads;
“The motion made at the February 29, 2016 Special Closed Council Meeting on the extension of the temporary shelter be released after the BC Housing press released is issued.”
The second motion reads;
“That staff work with BC Housing to develop a draft Memorandum of Understanding, for finalization after a public forum, on a congregate model of supportive housing at the Quality Inn location plus a purpose built supportive housing facility at the site provided by the City of Maple Ridge and that the Province undertake a public forum prior to March 31, 2016.”
When and where will the public engagement session be held?
That information has not been provided by BC Housing. Once they set the date and location they, and the City, will share the information widely.
Will the new facility be "low barrier"?
The exact details of the operating model for the proposed supportive housing facility have not been provided at this time. When that information is available the City will share that information and the appropriate contacts.
There were some comments from a local MLA on social media that indicated that he did not support the BC Housing proposal. What is the City reaction to those comments?
On Monday, March 14, 2016 Council passed the following motion in response to the comments on social media;
That the Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing and Deputy Premier, be requested to work with MLA Doug Bing and MLA Marc Dalton to affirm that the Quality Inn location proposed by BC Housing to the City of Maple Ridge remains the best option for the supportive housing solution and, if it is determined not to be the best location, that an alternative be identified.